'The Eternal Zero' Dominates Japan Academy Awards; 'Frozen' Takes Best Foreign Film

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'Frozen'

The film about a wartime kamikaze pilot took home seven awards.

The biggest Japanese film of last year, The Eternal Zero (Eien no Zero), the story of a youth searching for the truth about his kamikaze pilot grandfather, won best film, best director for Takashi Yamazaki, best actor for Junichi Okada as the pilot and four technical awards at the Japan Academy Prize (Awards) on Friday.

Based on the novel from controversial nationalist author Naoki Hyakuta, The Eternal Zero became the biggest Japanese film of last year, taking $73 million (8.76 billion) at the box office and garnering praise from Japan's hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Stand by Me Doraemon, also directed by Yamazaki, won the best animated film award.

In an evening as bereft of surprises as usual for the Japanese Oscars, Frozen, which spent 16 weeks on top of the Japanese box office charts on its way to grossing $250 million, won the best foreign film award.

Rie Miyazawa won best actress for her turn in Pale Moon (Kami no Tsuki) as a middle-aged bank employee who steals money to fund her affair with a young university student.  She won the same award at the Tokyo International Film Festival in October. 

Haru Kuroki's win for best supporting actress in Yoji Yamada's The Little House (Chisai Ouchi) also came as little surprise after she had won the same award for her role as a maid the wartime family drama at last year's Berlin International Film Festival.  

The six young performers given the new faces award gave a glimpse into the future of Japanese cinema: nearly all of them are models and/or singers, rather than trained actors.

Twitter: @GavinJBlair

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