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'Weathering With You', 'Lupin III: The First' Among Japan Academy Prize Nominees

Virtually every country that has a significant domestic film industry has its own annual awards ceremony. As one of the most prolific producers of films, Japan is no exception. However, Japan's Academy Prizes have a somewhat novel approach. It's often said that just to be nominated is a prize in itself, but at the Academy Prizes, it is literally true. All nominees are given an "Award Of Excellence" and a top winner is awarded during the ceremony itself.

The nominees for the 43rd Japan Academy Prizes have been revealed, and the ceremony will take place in Tokyo on March 1.  The Animation Of The Year category was established 13 years ago. The biggest winners have been Studio Ghibli and Mamoru Hosoda,  with Mirai taking the top prize last year.

This year's pack is lead by Japan's top-grossing film of 2019 Makoto Shinkai's Weathering With You. Shinkai's previous Your Name failed to win back in 2017, losing out to In This Corner Of The World. Shinkai's top rival in this year's nominees is probably Lupin III: The First, the first CG film from the beloved Lupin III franchise. Director Takashi Yamazaki is a previous winner in the category for Stand By Me Doraemon in 2015.  Also nominated is Her Blue Sky, a magical realist teen romance written by Mari Okada, and franchise efforts One Piece Stampede and Detective Conan: The Fist Of Blue Saphire. Films from these popular franchises are often nominated but have yet to take home the top prize- aside from the previously mentioned Doraemon film.

Weathering With You also got recognition for Music Of The Year for its soundtrack from RADWIMPS.  Previous years have also seen animated films recognised in the International Category (Zootopia for example) but this year's nominees are all live-action.

Weathering With You opens in limited release in US, Canada, UK and Ireland from January 17.