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!

The 90th edition of the Kinema Junpo awards is announced with some very interesting results! Considered as one of the most prestigious film awards in Japan, Kinema Junpo was founded by a group of four students, including Saburō Tanaka, at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. It was the oldest Japanese film magazine established in 1919 and known for the Kinema Junpo Top 10.

Kinema Junpo Awards - In This Corner of the World - Best Picture of 2016

For the 90th anniversary, KineJun announces their Top 10 Japanese movies of 2016:

In This Corner of the World

Shin Godzilla


Destruction Babies

Long Excuse

The Bride of Rip Van Winkle

Her Love Boils Bath Water


Over the Fence


Major acting awards after the jump!

Kento Yamazaki's appearance as a supporting player in 2010 TV sci-fi drama Clone Baby (Kuron Beibi) is a far cry from the Kento of today. As Jotaro, Yamazaki dons curly hair with a hair band, is a computer geek, and looks nerdy (and not so cool). The show stars Ken-On's Tomohiro Ichikawa, Tori Matsuzaka, and Yukari Taki (a rather plain actress with a forgettable performance). Also in the cast are Honoka Miki, Yu Inaba, and Dori Sakurada (who will eventually co-star with Yamazaki in Orange, and is reported to be a close friend).

Hyoka - Casting of Kento Yamazaki, Alice Hirose

Fast forward, Ichikawa is now relegated to playing supporting bit parts (especially when fellow Ken-On talent Sota Fukushi is cast as the main actor). Matsuzaka continues to grab high-profile roles but is not the rom-com prince wannabe anymore. 

Tori and Kento reunite in Love for Beginners, with Yamazaki donning the same curly hair and the same boring supporting character. Which begs the question: Can Yamazaki level up his casting and get those elusive leading roles? Well, a sudden change in appearance seems to do the trick. With a new hairstyle, a "darker" complexion and more intense eyes, Yamazaki makes a double take with Ai Hashimoto in Control Tower and Another.

I want to say the rest is history but, Yamazaki is just warming up. 

2017 and beyond appear to be promising years for Kento Yamazaki, Shota Sometani, Takeru Satoh, Taishi Nakagawa, Ryosuke Yamada, Masataka Kubota, and Ryunosuke Kamiki. The same applies to Tao Tsuchiya, Fumika Shimizu, and Hana Sugisaki. 

Why is that? Well, the biggest casting buzz in 2016 represents projects with them -  either as the main role or playing major characters of movies set for 2017, 2018 releases. For me, a major buzz in Japanese TV dramas are not as prestigious as being part of, say, the latest Sion Sono Nobuhiro Yamashita, or Hirokazu Koreeda movies, but these TV dramas may serve as 'launching pads' for new actors. However, being the new lead in an asadora or major roles in NHK's taiga drama are essential for a young actor's resume. 

I was waiting for Oricon to announce the 'breakthrough' boys after being surprised by the girls' list. [ See our reaction on the girls' list here ]

Masaki Suda - Death Note: Light Up the New World

How could I still be surprised you might ask? Quite simple. Seeing 'established' names on the list - can make me or even others who are quite familiar with the real J-entertainment scene - react adversely.