‘Shoplifters’ Director Hirokazu Kore-eda Joins Establishment With Japan Academy Awards

  • Variety
‘Shoplifters’ Director Hirokazu Kore-eda Joins Establishment With Japan Academy Awards
Once considered as a Japanese industry outsider, Hirokazu Kore-eda has thoroughly conquered that insider bastion, the Japan Academy Prizes, scooping eight trophies for his dark family drama “Shoplifters” at the 42nd annual award ceremony on March 1. Among them were best picture and best director honors – with the latter Kore-eda’s second in a row.

Administered by the Japan Academy Film Prize Association, the Japan Academy Prizes have been called Japan’s Oscars, but they have struggled to attain a similar clout and prestige. One reason is the perception that they are mostly parceled out by the local majors for the local majors. Celebrated auteur Takeshi Kitano told an audience at the 2014 Tokyo International Film Festival that “Toho, Toei, Shochiku and sometimes Nikkatsu…pass (the awards) around.”

Shoplifters” was released in Japan by Gaga, not considered a major distributor of Japanese films but still a potent industry force with a long
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