Nominees for the 46th Japan Academy Film Prize were announced today (Jan. 23), naming five winners of the semi-final “Excellent Animation of the Year” honors. Anime-inspired works were also recognized across the live-action categories. The winners, including “Best Animation of the Year,” will be announced at the awards ceremony on March 10 in Tokyo.
The animation contenders are Masaaki Yuasa’s Inu-oh (Science SARU/Aniplex/GKIDS [NorAm]), Keiichi Hara’s Lonely Castle in the Mirror (A-1 Pictures) [trailer], Makoto Shinkai’s Suzume (CoMix Wave, STORY inc) [trailer], Goro Taniguchi’s One Piece Film Red (Toei) and Takehiko Inoue’s The First Slam Dunk (Toei) [trailer].
Both One Piece Film Red and The First Slam Dunk have been major hits for Toei Animation. The 15th One Piece film is the highest-grossing in the studio’s history, and the highest-grossing film of 2022 in Japan. The Japan Academy previously announced that One Piece Film Red is the winner of this year’s Special Award, which recognizes a person or group’s outstanding achievement for the year. It is also the sixth One Piece film to be nominated for the Japan Academy prize.
Shinkai’s previous hit films have been recognized by the Japan Academy; his most recent feature Weathering with You won Animation of the Year in 2020, while Your Name. earned a nomination in the category as well as a nomination for Shinkai for best director in 2017. Suzume will be rolling out to international theaters beginning in April, following its overseas premiere at the Berlinale.
Inu-oh has already won some prestigious honors, including Fantasia Fest’s Satoshi Kon Award and the Ofuji Noburo Award from the Mainichi Film Awards (also nominated for Best Animation Film). Yuasa’s Night Is Short, Walk on Girl won the Japan Academy prize for animation in 2018.
Based on the award-winning novel by Mizuki Tsujimura, Lonely Castle in the Mirror marks the third nomination in the category for Hara, having previously competed with Miss Hokusai in 2016, Colorful in 2011 and Summer Days with Coo in 2008.
Another adaptation of Tsujimura’s work, the live-action Anime Supremacy! — about a first-time animation director determined to outdo the success of the difficult, but brilliant anime visionary who inspired her — was notably nominated in 10 categories, including Picture of the Year, Director (Kohei Yoshino), Screenplay (Yosuke Masaike) and Art Direction (Satoshi Kanda). You can watch the trailer here.
[Source: Japan Academy via Crunchyroll]