Yojiro Takita's Departures (Okuribito) has been selected as Japan's official entry for the Academy Awards' foreign-language film category, the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (Eiren) announced on Friday.

The final selection for films nominated in the category will be announced by AMPAS in January.

Departures is a dramedy starring Masahiro Motoki (The Longest Night In Shanghai) as a cellist whose orchestra disbands, prompting him to return to his small hometown where he finds work preparing bodies at a funeral home. When his wife, played by Ryoko Hirosue, finds out the truth about his job it impacts their relationship. Hirosue previously appeared in Wasabi and stars in upcoming big budget ninja fantasy Goemon.

Co-produced by a consortium including Shochiku, TBS, Sedic International, Dentsu and Amuse Soft Entertainment, Departures opened domestically on September 13 through Shochiku, which is also handling international sales.

The news follows the film's Grand Prix win at the Montreal World Film Festival earlier this month. Departures will also be screened at the upcoming Pusan International Film Festival and Golden Rooster Awards.

The last Japanese film to receive a nomination in the best foreign film category was 2003's The Twilight Samurai (Tasogare Seibei) directed by Yoji Yamada.