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Japanese film ‘Drive My Car’ wins Oscar for Best International Feature Film

  • Japanese drama “Drive My Car” won an Oscar for Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday night.

  • Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, this year’s win marks Japan's fifth Oscar and the first since 2009 when “Departures” won in the same category, at the time known as “Best Foreign Language Film.”

  • “Drive My Car” explores the grieving journey of a widowed actor and director dealing with the sudden passing of his wife.

  • It is the first Japanese film to be nominated for an award in the Best International Feature Film category since it was changed from “Best Foreign Language Film.”

Japan’s “Drive My Car” won the Best International Feature Film award at the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday night, marking Japan’s fifth Oscar win for a film.

Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, “Drive My Car” became the first Japanese film to win in the category since it was changed from “Best Foreign Language Film” in 2020. Including this year’s win, Japan has won five total Oscars for films, this being the first since 2008, when “Departures” won Best Foreign Language Film. 

During his acceptance speech, Hamaguchi thanked the film’s actors, members of the Academy, and Toko Miura, who plays the fictional chauffeur in his film.

After pausing for the audience’s applause, Hamaguchi attempted to continue his speech following the music cue but was led off the stage.

The three-hour long film had already earned around 90 awards, including from the Cannes film festival in July of last year. 

Based on the short story of the same name written by Haruki Murakami, “Drive My Car” follows the story of a recently widowed actor and director who attempts to cope with the loss of his wife through the company of a female chauffeur who drives him around in his prized red Saab 900. 

The other nominees for the Best International Feature Film category this year included Italy’s “The Hand of God,” Denmark’s “Flee,” Bhutan’s “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom” and Norway’s “The Worst Person in the World.”

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