Drive My Car won Best International Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards ceremony on March 27, 2022. This victory earned Japan their fifth win ever and second with this title since Yojiro Takita’s Departure in 2008. Drive My Car was also notably the only Asian centric film to be nominated this year amongst the competitors across all categories. With four nominations in total, the film was also up for Best Film, Adapted Screenplay, and Best Director.
Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi accepted the well deserved prize on behalf of the entire cast and crew. The director started off by thanking his distributors for bringing the film to the United States which has allowed the movie to reach and be enjoyed by greater audiences. As Hamaguchi excitedly waved the award in the air, he name dropped the entire cast–thanking them for their hard work and accompanying him to the ceremony. He also made sure to applaud actress Toko Miura, who was unable to attend the show, for her pivotal role and beautiful driving in the film.
Drive My Car has been a strong contender in the award circuit since its world premiere at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. Starting off with 3 prizes from Cannes, masterminds Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe became the first Japanese screenwriters to win the Best Screenplay prize at the festival. Since then, the feature film has collected a number of accolades including Best Foreign Language Film at the 79th Golden Globes and the 75th BAFTAs to name a few. The film’s success comes to no surprise as its powerful storytelling weaves a narrative of grief and acceptance which immerses the audience into the complexity of loss. Hamaguchi also adds his own spin to the source material the film is adapted from which he found the actual ending abrupt, explaining “I felt like I needed to take that story somewhere beyond where it ends on the page.”
A New Gener-Asian in Entertainment
As one of the most prestigious and highly sought after awards in entertainment, this win continues to open the door wider for international films and talent. Asian representation has become increasingly prominent in entertainment in recent years with this victory following 2019’s Parasite after their historical Best Picture prize that cemented them as the first Asian film to win in the major categories. Alongside award winning films, Parasite and Minari is the constant reminder to viewers that language shouldn’t be a factor in determining the value of art. Drive My Car’s unique choice of featuring various languages through a play of actors, showcases a range of cultures from Japanese, Korean Sign Language, Mandarin, Indonesian and more. In doing so the film introduces the fluidity of communication and language in today’s world, no longer the barrier it was thought to be.
Film Buffs Celebrate
Fans all over social media congratulated the film for adding such a monumental prize to their already impressive list of awards. Although many were disappointed the movie wasn’t able to take home Best Picture, it didn’t diminish the significance of their win in the International Feature Film category. Making sure to celebrate the win, tweets of encouragement and joy could be seen directed towards the cast and director behind the film.
If you haven’t already you can still catch Drive My Car in select theaters around the country. The award winning film has also been made accessible to stream online through HBO Max. Congratulations to the Drive My Car team on their well-deserved win!
Looking for more on barrier-breaking East Asian cinema? Check out our coverage of Squid Games’ historic wins at the 2022 SAG Awards here!