Director Setsuro Wakamatsu’s controversial The Unbroken (Shizumanu Taiyo) has been named best picture of 2009 at the 33rd Japan Academy prize awards ceremony, held Friday evening (5th) at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Tokyo.
Lead actor Ken Watanabe also picked up the prize for best actor in The Unbroken. Watanabe plays an airline union leader who fights for stricter safety regulations and eventually against corporate corruption in the wake of a tragic crash.
The controversial production was long thought unfilmable for its thinly-veiled retelling of the massive Japan Airlines flight 123 air disaster of 1985, but producer Kadokawa Pictures held firm that the film, based on Toyoko Yamasaki’s novel, was fiction.
Veteran cinematographer Daisaku Kimura picked up the best director award for his directorial debut The Summit: A Chronicle Of Stones about mountain climbing. Teruyuki Kagawa won best supporting actor for his role as a mountain guide. The film won six prizes in total including cinematography, music and sound.
The best actress prize went to Takako Matsu for period drama Villon’s Wife, which won best director at Montreal last year for Kichitaro Negishi.
Kimiko Yo won best supporting actress for the second year running for Dear Doctor, following last year’s win for Departures. Dear Doctor was awarded best screenplay for Miwa Nishikawa, who also wrote the novel the film was based on and directed.
Mamoru Hosoda’s animation hit Summer Wars ($18.3m) won the prize for best animated film and Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino best foreign film.
This year the awards were more evenly distributed following last year’s ten-prize sweep by Departures, which won the Oscar for best foreign language film two days later.