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31st Japan Academy Prize Nominees Announced

posted on by Egan Loo
Always, Maiko, Eva, Coo, Tekkonkinkreet, Piano no Mori, Conan, Sakuran, Gegege honored

The Nippon Academy-Sho Association, a Japanese group roughly comparable to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which awards the Oscars in America, has announced the nominees of the 31st Japan Academy Prizes. The awards honor excellence in motion pictures that premiered in 2007, and will be presented on February 15.

Khara's Evangelion: 1.0 You Are [Not] Alone, Shinei Animation's Summer Days with Coo, Studio 4°C's Tekkonkinkreet, Madhouse's Piano no Mori and Shogakukan and TMS Entertainment's Detective Conan: Jolly Roger in the Deep Azure all earned nominations in the Animation of the Year category. This will be only the second time in the history of the Japan Academy Prizes that an Animation of the Year award has been given. Madhouse's The Girl Who Leapt Through Time won the first animation award this past year. Before the introduction of the Animation of the Year award, Studio Ghibli won the overall Picture of the Year Award for the first time with Princess Mononoke and again for Spirited Away.

Always Zoku San-chōme no Yūhi (Always: Sunset on Third Street 2), Takashi Yamazaki's adaptation of Ryōhei Saigan's Sanchoume no Yuuhi - Yuuyake no Uta post-war slice-of-life manga, is vying for Picture of the Year. The first Always: Sunset on Third Street film won the same award two years ago. The sequel has also earned Yamazaki a Director of the Year nomination and a Screenplay of the Year nomination (with Ryota Kosawa). In all, Always: Sunset on Third Street 2 picked up 13 nominations, including those for leading actor, supporting actor, supporting actress, music, cinematography, lighting direction, art direction, sound recording, and film editing.

Maiko Haan!!!, the live-action comedy film that Viz Pictures licensed for North American distribution, is up for awards in the categories of Screenplay of the Year (for comedian Kankurō Kudō), Actor in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, and Film Editing. It is not up for the overall Picture of the Year award, although Hula Girls, another Viz Pictures license, won that award in the previous year.

Sakuran, Mika Ninagawa's film adaptation of Moyoco Anno's manga about a free-spirited Edo-era courtesan, was nominated for Ringo Shena's music. It also earned an art direction nod for its lavish, florid portrayal of Tokyo's ancient red-light district. Letters from Iwo Jima, Clint Eastwood's film about World War II from the Japanese perspective, is up for Foreign Film of the Year. Viz released Tadamichi Kuribayashi's Picture Letters from the Commander in Chief, a non-fiction collection of war-era letters and one of the two main sources for Eastwood's film.

Newcomer Eiji Wentz earned a Rookie of the Year nod for his portrayal of the titular role in the live-action adaptation of Shigeru Mizuki's Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro horror manga. The late actor Hitoshi Ueki will receive a Special Award from the Chairman for Acting. He performed the first ending theme of 1995's Chibi Maruko-chan anime remake, and his last film role was a special appearance in Maiko Haaaan!!! earlier this year.

Source: animeanime.jp

Images © Nippon Academy-Sho Association
© Khara, Gainax
© 2007 Always Zoku San-chōme no Yūhi Production Committee
© 2007 Maiko Haaaan!!! Production Committee
© 2007 Ninagawa-Gumi Sakuran Film Committee © Moyoco Anno/Kodansha
© 2007 Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro Film Partners

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