March 09, 2020 10:55
Actress Shim Eun-kyung has won the best actress award at this year's Japan Academy Film Prize. Shim received the honor for her role in her debut Japanese film "The Journalist" at a ceremony in Tokyo on March 6.
Shim froze when her name was called, and was almost speechless on stage, sobbing as she said in Japanese, "I'm sorry I didn't prepare a speech because I didn't expect to win at all. It was a great honor to work on this film with the crew."
The Japan Academy Film Prize is the country's most prestigious film awards, launched in 1978. The nominees are named in January, and the winner is announced on the day of the ceremony. Bae Doo-na earned a nomination for best actress with her performance in "Air Doll" in 2010 but failed to win it.
Based on a novel with the same title written by Isoko Mochizuki, a journalist for the Tokyo Shimbun, "The Journalist" deals with a government corruption scandal targeting the Abe administration.
Shim appears as a half-Korean, half-Japanese journalist in the fourth year of her career. Shim studied Japanese for one year in order to prepare for the role, for which she also won the best actress award at the 74th Mainichi Film Awards last month.
"The Journalist," directed by Michihito Fujii, also won the best picture and best actor awards, the latter by Tori Matsuzaka.
The Japanese cinema world was surprised not only by a Korean winning for best actress, but also that an anti-government movie won the best picture award. Like the Academy Awards in the U.S., some 4,000 members of Japan's Academy vote to determine the winners.
"Their courage to make an anti-government movie and tackle the various political controversies surrounding it, seems to have contributed to the success of 'The Journalist,'" said Japanese film critic Hiroaki Saito.
Shim launched her career in Japan in 2017 when she signed a contract with a management agency there. She has since split her time between the two countries, appearing in several Japanese films including "Blue Hour," "Fictitious Girl's Diary" and "The Garden of Camellia."
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