Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea won two awards at the 32nd Japan Academy Prizes on Friday. It won the Animation of the Year award over Kôzô Kusuba and Shin-Ei Animation's Doraemon: Nobita to Midori no Kyojin Den, Mamoru Oshii and Production I.G's The Sky Crawlers, Yasuichiro Yamamoto and TMS Entertainment's Detective Conan: Full Score of Fear, and Atsuji Shimizu and Toei Animation's One Piece: Episode of Chopper + Fuyu ni Saku, Kiseki no Sakura. The category was just created two years ago; The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Tekkonkinkreet were the previous winners. Before that, Studio Ghibli won the overall Picture of the Year Award for Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.
Joe Hisaishi also won an award for his Ponyo soundtrack. He had received two nominations for Outstanding Achievement in Music: one for the live-action Okuribito (Departures) film, and the other for Ponyo.
Yojiro Takita's Okuribito almost swept the rest of the awards with a tally of 10, including the overall Picture of the Year Award. Fan favorite actor Kenichi Matsuyama (Death Note, NANA) received an award of merit for his work in the manga-based Detroit Metal City rock comedy film (pictured at left). Tetsuya Nakashima's surreal live-action fantasy film Paco and the Magical Book garnered one win for Towako Kuwajima for Art Direction, while Christopher Nolan and Warner Brothers' The Dark Knight film won the Outstanding Foreign Language Film honor.
The Nippon Academy-Sho Association, a Japanese group roughly comparable to America's Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Oscars fame, presents these awards every year.
Images © 2008 Detroit Metal City Production Committee © 2008 Nibariki, GNDHDDT