Half A Confession(Hanochi), Kiyoshi Sasabe'scourtroom drama about a man who confesses to murdering his wife, has been named2004 Best Picture at the 28th Japan Academy Awards.

Based on a best-sellingnovel by Hideo Yokoyama, the film was also one of 2004's biggest domestic hits,grossing $18.1m (Y1.9 bn) for distributor Toei.

Half A Confession's star, Akira Terao, won the Best Actor prize -- hissecond since winning for Takashi Koizumi's The Rain Lifts in 2001.

The Best Actress award wentto Kyoka Suzuki for her performance as an abused wife in Blood And Bones,a drama about a sadistic, but fiercely ambitious Korean man who becomes afamily patriarch and successful businessman in Japan after the war.

Yoichi Sai won the BestDirector prize and Joe Odagiri won the Best Supporting Actor prize for theirwork in the film. Blood And Bones, however star "Beat" TakeshiKitano was not even nominated,.

The Best Supporting Actresswas seventeen-year-old Masami Nagasawa, who shot to stardom last year as thedoomed teen-aged heroine of Isao Yukisada's romantic drama Crying Out LoveIn The Centre Of The World. The prize was her sixth major local award forthe role.

The Best Newcomer prize wasgiven to six actors, including Anna Tsuchiya, who has swept similar prizes forher work as a punk biker in Tetsuya Nakashima's Kamikaze Girls.