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Oscars: Japan Nominates 'The Great Passage' in Foreign Language Category

The Academy Awards Statue and Sign - H 2012
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The Foreign Language Film shortlist for the 86th Oscars will be announced in January

30-year-old Yuya Ishii will become the youngest director ever to represent Japan in the Academy Awards race.

TOKYO – The Great Passage (Fune o Amu), starring Ryuhei Matsuda and Miyazaki Aoi, a love story about a dictionary compiler, will be Japan’s representative in the best foreign language film category at the 86th Academy Awards.

The selection of the movie was announced on Thursday.

Matsuda (Taboo) plays a struggling salesman who lands the job of editing a 240,000-word dictionary, the Daitokai -- The Great Passage of the English title. After falling for his landlady's daughter (Aoi), he is asked by the chief editor to write a definition of the word "love."

Ishii, 30, is best known for Sawako Decides (2010) and won the new talent award in 2008 at the second Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong after releasing three features in 2007. He is the youngest director ever to be selected as Japan's representative in the best foreign language film category.

The seven-person Japan Movie Producers Association selection committee chose Ishii's film from a list of 15 candidates.

Yojiro Takita's Departures (Okuribito) won the best foreign language film award for Japan in 2008, the nation's first triumph in the category since the 1950s when three Japanese films took the award, including Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon.  

Twitter: @GavinJBlair