LOS ANGELES: Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s ‘Drive My Car’ bagged the Best International Feature Film award at the Oscars 2022, becoming the second movie from Japan to take the honour in the category formerly known as Best Foreign Language Film.
It’s the fifth award for Japan if we count honorary awards given out in the 1950s.
The other contenders up against ‘Drive My Car’ were Denmark’s ‘Flee’, Italy’s ‘The Hand of God’, Norwegian film ‘The Worst Person in the World’, and ‘Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom’ from Bhutan.
Hamaguchi accepted the award, which was presented to him by ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ actor Simu Liu and comedian-actor Tiffany Haddish. The director of ‘Drive My Car’ thanked everyone after accepting the award, reported Deadline.
Speaking in English rather than through a translator as he has for much of awards season, Hamaguchi thanked “all the members of the Academy for having us here” as well as his US distributors “for bringing Drive My Car to the United States.”
He was nearly played off before interrupting the music himself and saying, “Just a moment,” adding thanks to all of his actors present and those who couldn’t make it to LA, “especially Toko Miura, who drove the Saab 900 beautifully in the film.”
Hamaguchi looked like he had more to say, but the skedaddle music swelled and off he went.
Hamaguchi co-wrote and directed ‘Drive My Car’, based on a short story by Haruki Murakami. The drama made history on Oscar nominations day, becoming the first Japanese film ever to score an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
Hamaguchi is only the third Japanese filmmaker to be nominated in the Best Director category and had a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay tonight. ‘Drive My Car’s’ four total Oscar nominations tie Akira Kurosawa’s Ran as the most-nominated film ever from Japan (though the latter was a French co-production).
The film tells the story of an actor-director played by Hidetoshi Nishijima, who is forced to confront the demons beneath the seemingly perfect surface of his marriage after his wife dies. He develops a tentative friendship with his young chauffeur while directing a multi-lingual production of Russian playwright Anton Checkhov’s ‘Uncle Vanya’ in Hiroshima.
‘Drive My Car’ began its winning streak in Cannes where it took the Best Screenplay prize and has been on a wild ride ever since, winning top overall film honours from both the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the New York Film Critics Circle, along with myriad prizes from other organisations.
It also recently won the BAFTA for Film Not in the English Language. (ANI)