The Ryusuke Hamaguchi-directed movie also earned nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay
This article was originally published on February 8, 2022 and was updated on March 28, 2022.
Drive My Car has won Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards—the second ever Japanese film to be awarded an Oscar under this category.
The movie had already made Oscar history as the first Japanese film to be nominated for Best Picture. It also received nominations in Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, marking the most nominations ever awarded to a Japanese film. Its win was announced at the award ceremony on March 27 (E.T.).
Prior to its Oscar win, the movie made waves in film festivals and award shows, notably winning Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globe Awards 2022 and Best Screenplay at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. Ryusuke Hamaguchi and co-screenwriter Takamaase Oe are the first Japanese to win the award at Cannes.
Drive My Car, released in 2021 and directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, is based on Japanese writer Haruki Murakami’s 2014 short story of the same name. It follows the story of renowned stage actor and director Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima), who receives an offer to direct a production in Hiroshima and hires a 20-year-old chauffeur (Toko Miura) to drive him. An unexpected bond is developed, as Hidetoshi also comes to terms with the sudden passing of his wife.
The film’s Oscar win and nominations are especially significant for Japanese cinema. This is the second time a Japanese film has won Best International Feature since 2008’s Departures; the third time a Japanese director was nominated Best Director after Akira Kurosawa for Ran in 1986 and Hiroshi Teshigahara for Woman in the Dunes in 1965.
It also marks the third year in a row that an East Asian director has landed a Best Director nomination following Bong Joon-ho for Parasite in 2020 and Chloé Zhao for Nomadland in 2021. Both took home the award, and their films also both won Best Picture.