Daily Archives: January 24, 2007

An Oscar for Rinko?

Kikuchi Rinko (26) has made it onto the Oscar shortlist. Yesterday, she became just the fifth Japanese actor to be nominated for an Academy Award, for her role in “Babel”. She plays a deaf high school girl struggling to come to terms with the death of her mother and her own awakening sexuality. She was also among the nominess for a Golden Globe, though the award went to Jennifer Hudson for “Dreamgirls”. Among Kikuchi’s other rivals for the Oscar will be her Babel co-star Adriana Barraza. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is also up for an award. Babel was nominated in a total of six categories, including the one for best picture, in which it’s up against Clint Eastwood’s Japanese language WWII drama “Letters From Iwo Jima”. That movie in turn stars Watanabe Ken (47), who was the last Japanese actor to receive an Oscar nomination in 2004 for “The Last Samurai”. “Letters…” didn’t get any acting nominations but it’s in the running for best original screenplay and sound editing, and Eastwood was nominated for best director.

• Actress Uchida Yuki (31) is to make her first movie appearance in nine years. She will star in “Quiet Room ni Youkoso”, written and directed by Matsuo Suzuki (44). Based on his Akutagawa Prize-winning novel, it is the story of a divorcee writer who one day finds herself confined in a hospital isolation ward. Uchida is herself a divorcee, having split from actor Yoshioka Hidetaka (36) in 2005. She returned to TV drama last year after a 4-year absence from the small screen.

• Talento Ishikawa Asami (29) and musician Ryoji (32) are the proud parents of a baby boy. The couple married in July of last year after meeting at a gig by Ryoji’s popular group Ketsumeishi.

• Just days after his 10-year-old daughter was killed by a truck, talento Kazami Shingo (44) made tearful return to work. He turned up at the Meijiza Theater yesterday for rehearsals of a theatrical production scheduled for next month. In a quintessentially Japanese form of politeness, he apologized to fellow cast members for the “meiwaku” (inconvenience) and thanked them for attending his daughter’s funeral.