The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) announced on Wednesday that “Drive My Car” has won its 2022 AACTA Award for Best Asian Film.
This is the first AACTA Award for director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, adding to the movie’s impressive haul of international accolades to date, including three awards at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and four Oscar nominations — for Best Picture, Best Director (the first ever for a Japanese film), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best International Feature.
Adapted from a short story of the same name by author Haruki Murakami, “Drive My Car” centers on two characters struggling with grief and loss, who connect while working on a new stage production of “Uncle Vanya” in the city of Hiroshima.
SEE Nominees and winners for the Australian Academy International Awards
In presenting the award, AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella proclaimed that “while all nominees for our Best Asian film have great strengths, ‘Drive My Car’ is a standout masterpiece that stays in your mind long after you’ve left the cinema. Our congratulations go to the director, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, and to all the cast and crew.” In accepting the award, Hamaguchi said, “I feel that this film is now reaching the world in a very wonderful way. I am also very happy that the film has reached as far as Australia, across the ocean.”
“Drive My Car” triumphed over an impressive list of nominated films, including Hong Kong/Malaysia/Philippines co-production “Barbarian Invasion,” Chinese films “Balloon,” “Hi, Mom” and “One Second” (a China/Hong Kong co-production), Indian films “The Disciple,” “Sardar Udham” and “Soorarai Pottru” and Thai film “One for the Road.” The Best Asian Film Award is the cornerstone of AACTA’s International Engagement Program, which celebrates the work and expertise of the many dynamic film industries across Asia. Now in its fifth year, the award acknowledges the increasing popularity, importance, and influence of Asian cinema internationally. Last year, the AACTA Best Asian Film was awarded to the Hong Kong film “Better Days,” which was also nominated at the Oscars for Best International Feature, and in 2019, Oscar mega-hit “Parasite” took home the coveted award from the Aussie academy.
The Australian Academy, much like its American and British counterparts, seeks to promote, encourage and celebrate screen excellence in Australia and worldwide. For over 60 years, the AACTA Awards (formerly the AFI Awards), Australia’s most prestigious film and television award, have recognized and celebrated Australia’s highest achievements in film, television, short form and digital content. In addition to awarding homegrown talent working within its local industry, AACTA introduced its international film awards a decade ago to give Australian filmmakers and artists a voice in the lead up to the Oscars. While the Aussie academy can be quite prescient about spotlighting which films and performers are in the hunt for Oscar recognition, they do tend to favor homegrown talent, with Aussie co-production “The Power of the Dog” winning three awards this year (Best Film, Best Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch and Best Supporting Actor for Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Aussie Nicole Kidman winning Best Actress for “Being the Ricardos.”
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