‘Drive My Car’ wins 5th Oscar for Japan for Best International Feature Film

As predicted, Janus Films’ “Drive My Car” has claimed victory at the 2022 Oscars for Best International Feature Film. The prize was handed out during ABC’s Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, March 27 — see the complete Oscars winners list.

This marks Japan’s fifth overall trophy in the Best International Feature Film category (which prior to 2020 was called Best Foreign Language Film). Back when the category was non-competitive, the country was awarded with three honorary Oscars for “Rashomon” (1951), “Gate of Hell” (1954) and “Samurai, The Legend of Musashi” (1955). “Departures” (2008) and “Drive My Car” are the two Japanese film to claim victory against nominees in the modern era.

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The three-hour movie from director Ryusuke Hamaguchi tells the story of a recent widower (played by Hidetoshi Nishijima) who is hired to direct a play and the young woman (played by Toko Miura) who is assigned to be his chauffeur, against his wishes. “Drive My Car” was also nominated at the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay (Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe).

The other international nominees at the 2022 Oscars were Norway’s “The Worst Person in the World,” Denmark’s “Flee,” Italy’s “The Hand of God” and Bhutan’s “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom.” Gold Derby’s Experts were squarely in the “Drive My Car” camp, with 28 of them predicting it to triumph, compared to one for “The Worst Person in the World” and zero for the rest.

SEE How to watch ‘Drive My Car’

Remember, per academy rules, Hamaguchi doesn’t personally take home the Oscar. Instead, it goes to the submitting country as a whole, in this case Japan.

“Drive My Car” began its awards run at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won statues for Best Screenplay, the FIPRESCI Prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and was nominated for the coveted Palme d’Or. It later prevailed with various critics and awards groups, including National Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Golden Globes, Critics Choice and BAFTA Awards.

For all of you stats nerds out there, Italy holds the record with 14 wins through the years in the international Oscar category. Next up is France with an even dozen. Thanks to “Drive My Car,” Japan is now in third place with five, followed by a tie between Spain and Denmark which have four apiece.

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