'Villain' Creeps to Top of Japan Academy Prize Noms

'About Her Brother,' 'Confessions' duel with 11 nominations each.

TOKYO – The nominations for the 34th Japan Academy Prize (awards) were announced Friday, with Akunin (Villain) Otouto (About Her Brother) Kokuhaku (Confessions) and Jûsan-nin no shikaku (13 Assassins) leading the pack.

Villain by Korean-Japanese director Lee Sang-il (Hula Girls) has picked up a remarkable 15 nominations in the 13 categories it is eligible for, with double nods for best supporting actor and actress.

Yoji Yamada’s About Her Brother has 11 selections, as does Tetsuya Nakashima’s Confessions, which is Japan’s entry to the Best Foreign Language Oscar. Takashi Miike’s samurai epic 13 Assassins, which opened at Venice this year, has nine nominations.

Those big four are joined in the best picture category by medical drama Kokou no Mesu (The Lone Scapel), which has four other nominations.  

Studio Ghibli’s Kari-gurashi no Arietti (The Borrower Arrietty) should be the favorite in an unusually low-key best animation category.  

In the foreign film section, Avatar and The Hurt Locker will once again battle it out, joined by Inception, Invictus and Toy Story 3.

The 34th Japan Academy Prizes will be awarded on February 18, 2011, two weeks before the 83rd Academy Awards in the U.S.