Updated! Nominations are in! 

The Japan Academy Prize will celebrate its 40th-year-anniversary come awards time next year in March.

Picture of the Year
What a Wonderful Family
Shin Godzilla
Her Love Boils Bathwater
64: Part 1

Best Animation
Kimi no na wa
A Silent Voice
In This Corner of the World
Rudolf the Black Cat

More of the nominees after the jump!

Best Director
Hideaki Anno/ Shinji Higuchi (Shin Godzilla)
Makoto Shinkai (Kimi no na wa)
Takahisa Zeze (64 Rokuyon Zenpen)
Ryota Nakano (Yu wo wakasu hodo no atsui ai)
Sang-il Lee (Ikari)

Best Actor
Go Ayano (Nihon de Ichiban Warui Yatsura)
Junichi Okada (Kaizoku to yobareta otoko)
Koichi Sato (64 Rokuyon Zenpen)
Hiroki Hasegawa (Shin Godzilla)
Kenichi Matsuyama (Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow)

Best Actress
Shinobu Ootake (Gosaigyou no Onna)
Haru Kuroki (Rip van Winkle no Hanayome)
Suzu Hirose (Chihayafuru - Kami no ku -)
Aoi Miyazaki (Ikari)
Rie Miyazawa (Her Love Boils Bathwater)

Best Supporting Actor
Pistol Takehara (The Long Excuse)
Satoshi Tsumabuki (Ikari)
Masahiro Higashide (Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow)
Mirai Moriyama (Ikari)
Frankie Lily (SCOOP!)

Best Supporting Actress
Satomi Ishihara (Shin Godzilla)
Mikako Ichikawa (Shin Godzilla)
Hana Sugisaki (Her Love Boils Bathwater)
Suzu Hirose (Ikari)
Aoi Miyazaki (Birthday Card)

Rookies of the Year
Sugisaki Hana
Mitsuki Takahata
Kanna Hashimoto
Takanori Iwata
Kentaro Sakaguchi
Takara Sakamoto
Yudai Chiba

Yudai Chiba has been making movies since 2011, so it's so funny to see his name as a 'rookie'. I find the winners at the 90th Kinema Junpo awards as more prestigious.

You don't just nominate someone just for the heck of it - imagine Suzu Hirose getting both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress nominations when she has yet to perfect her acting style, let alone have a style.

Nobuhiro Yamashita, who directed "Over The Fence," has yet to win a Best Director trophy from the Academy. A previous film, A Gentle Breeze in the Village, won at the 32nd Hochi Film Awards. Other notable films from the director are Linda, Linda, Linda, My Back Page, The Drudgery Train, and Misono Universe. 

"Pink and Gray," from Isao Yukisada, features breakout actors Masaki Suda and Yuto Nakajima. For me, Nakajima is the most promising Johnny's talent who can compete with "pure actors" like Suda, Yagira, Sometani, and Ikematsu. I just hope the agency will not push other talents who apparently lack the acting skills. Director Yukisada won Best Director at the Academy for "Go!" (starring Yosuke Kubozuka and Kou Shibasaki), but that was a long time ago, in 2002.

Yoji Yamada's "What A Wonderful Family" with the cast of "Tokyo Family" reuniting for a comedy, this time. Makoto Shinkai's "Your Name" is already 2016's biggest box office hit - with over $172 million. Shin Godzilla is a distant second with $80 million. Shinkai's animation is also shortlisted for the Oscar's Best Animated Feature, though there's plenty of competition for the said category.

"Good Morning Show" reunites director Kimizuka with Mirai Shida. Their collaboration, "Nobody to Watch Over Me" (2009), won Shida a "Rookie of the Year" at the Academy, and the film went on to become Japan's official entry for the Oscar Best Foreign Film category. The movie also stars Kiichi Nakai, Masami Nagasawa, and Gaku Hamada.

Sang-il's "Anger" is star-studded, with Ken Watanabe, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Kenichi Matsuyama, Mirai Moriyama, Gou Ayano, Aoi Yamazaki among the cast. 

Double Life, which stars Mugi Kadowaki, Masaki Suda, Lily Franky and Hiroki Hasegawa, is also Yoshiyuki Kishi first feature film. Kadowaki was nominated for Best Actress for her role at the Raindance Film Festival.

Her Blood Boils Bathwater is another acting showcase with Rie Miyazawa and Joe Odagiri playing estranged couple, with Hana Sugisaki and Tori Matsuzaka among the cast. 

Hideaki Anno's screenplay and Shinji Higuchi's visual effects work well for the latest Godzilla movie entitled "Shin Godzilla.". The film also has a star-studded cast including Hiroki Hasegawa, Yutaka Takeuchi, and Satomi Ichihara.

Koreeda's "After the Storm" is the award-winning filmmaker's follow-up to last year's "Umimachi Diary" which won Best Picture. The movie which stars Hiroshi Abe and Kirin Kiki participated at Cannes' Un Certain Regard. 

"Somebody" (Nanimono) may also make it to the list. "I Am A Hero" the zombie gore-fest comedy/thriller starring Yo Oizumi may be a "dark horse'.

"A Man Called Pirate" by Yamazaki is yet to be screened (December 10), but the film stars Junichi Okada, Haruka Ayase, Shota Sometani and will surely vie for - at least - Best Picture and major acting awards. Yamazaki's previous movie, "The Eternal Zero", also starring Okada and Sometani won major awards at the 38th edition of said Academy.

Maybe on the running: My Uncle (Boku no Ojisan) also by Nobuhiro Yamashita. If you have other movies in mind, please let us know!


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