Japanese film ‘Drive My Car’ nominated for Best Picture, 3 more Oscars

This image released by Janus Films and Sideshow shows Hidetoshi Nishijima, left, and Toko Miura in a scene from “Drive My Car.” (Janus Films and Sideshow via AP)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s film “Drive My Car” was nominated in four categories including Best Picture for the 94th U.S. Academy Awards on Tuesday, becoming the first Japanese film to land the prestigious Oscar nomination. .

The adaptation of a short story by Japanese author Haruki Murakami was also nominated for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best International Feature Film.

The brooding three-hour film centers on a widower who comes to terms with his grief and finds solace in a female driver after his wife dies leaving secrets behind.

The last time a Japanese was nominated for Best Director was 36 years ago, when Akira Kurosawa was given the green light for ‘Ran’.

Hamaguchi, 43, and co-screenwriter Takamasa Oe, 41, were nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.

The film will compete in the best picture category against Steven Spielberg’s musical remake “West Side Story” and Jane Campion’s western “The Power of the Dog,” among others.

“Drive My Car” would be the second non-English film to win best picture, following 2019 South Korean film “Parasite” directed by Bong Joon Ho.

It has already won the Golden Globe for best non-English language film in January and the prize for best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

Reika Kirishima, 49 – who plays the wife of the film’s protagonist, played by Hidetoshi Nishijima, 50 – said she was “full of gratitude and happiness” that the film was enjoyed beyond Japan.

Japanese film critic Sachiko Watanabe said of the works nominated for Best Picture this year, Hamaguchi’s film probably portrays human relationships the most profoundly.

The presentation and awards ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on March 27.

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