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Winners of the '54th Blue Ribbon Awards' announced

January 25, 2012 @ 3:00 am
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Today the winners have been announced for the '54th Blue Ribbon Awards', a prestigious movie award that is awarded by the movie critics and writers of all seven major newspapers in Tokyo.

The big prize 'Best Film' went to Sono Sion's surreal masterpiece "Cold Fish" ("Tsumetai Nettaigyo"), starring Fukikoshi Mitsuru. Sono, who is already collecting awards for his latest film "Himizu", received the news with a somewhat satisfied smile. He said, "'Cold Fish' is actually too heterogeneous for a Japanese film. I thought it wouldn't even be considered for awards such as the Blue Ribbon Award. The award for Best Director would have made me happier."

However, it was Japan's oldest director, Shindo Kaneto, who was honored as 'Best Director' by the critics. Shindo completed his self-proclaimed 'last movie', "Ichimai no Hagaki", at the incredible age of 99. He's the oldest person ever to receive this award, yet it's Shindo's personally first Blue Ribbon Award.

While Shindo happens to be the oldest award recipient, child actress Ashida Mana has become the youngest to win the award at the age of seven. She received 'Best New Artist' for her outstanding performances in "Usagi Drop" and "Hankyu Densha". She commented, "I'm very happy that I'm receiving such a wonderful award. I'd like to continue to work hard and learn much, much more about acting." The youngest to receive the award before her was Harada Tomoyo in 1983. Harada was 16 at the time.

'Best Starring Actor' went to Takenouchi Yutaka for his role as Captain Oba Sakae in "Oba: The Last Samurai". "I've always wanted to receive this award someday, thus I'm really honored," he said. Takenouchi has been working as an actor since the age of 18, but has never really made it into a big movie star such as his idols Mifune Toshiro and Ogata Ken. Now that he is over 40, he decided that he wants to focus more on movies than dramas. "I want to take this movie is a chance to pursue my goal again," he added.


Nagasaku Hiromi was awarded as 'Best Starring Actress' by the critics. In 2007 she already received a Blue Ribbon Award for 'Best New Artist', but in 2011 she impressed as the starring actress in "Youkame no Semi". She joked, "I know that you can present the award at the award ceremony the year after winning the award yourself. I knew that someday I would be able to present the award (after winning it myself)." This role was her first big job after giving birth to her first child in May 2010. "I'm glad that I accepted the challenge," she said. "I've arrived at a completely new stage at my life now, at work and in private, and I realized that you can't more forward unless you are determined about various things. Especially as a mother I have no choice but to become even stronger."

Actor Iseya Yusuke received the award for 'Best Supporting Actor' for his roles in "Ashita no Joe" and "Kaiji 2". He is known for his impressive and sharp performances and more than happy to finally receive such an award. He commented, "I'm not a person who often receives such an award. I'm embarrassed and happy."

The award for 'Best Supporting Actor' was given to Nagasawa Masami. Her role in "Moteki" included a lot of challenges, but she tackled all of them at ease and eventually received the Blue Ribbon Award for the second time in her career. "Many people who saw the movie told me that my image has changed and that's what I wanted," she looked back at the feedback she received for this role. "I wanted to show everyone a new side of me that hasn't been seen before." She bashfully continued,  "I wonder, if I were to become more like the woman I'm playing in the movie, would I also become more popular (moteru)?"

'Best Foreign Film' went to "Black Swan", which was directed by Darren Aronofsky and is starring Natalie Portman.

A special award was also given to the late Harada Yoshio who died in July 2011. His eldest daughter received the wonderful news in his stead and remembered how he was awarded with the Blue Ribbon Award for 'Best Starring Actor' in 1990 for his performances in "Ronin-gai" and "Ware ni Utsu Yoi Ari" ("Read to Shoot").

The actual award ceremony will be held on February 14th.

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Here's an overview of the awards:

Best Film: "Cold Fish" (Sono Sion)
Best Director: Shindo Kaneto
Best Starring Actor: Takenouchi Yutaka
Best Starring Actress: Nagasaku Hiromi
Best Supporting Actor: Iseya Yusuke
Best Supporting Actress: Nagasawa Masami
Best New Artist: Ashida Mana
Best Foreign Film: "Black Swan" (Darren Aronofsky)
Special Award: Harada Yoshio

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Sources: Sanspo 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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