Daily Archives: January 26, 2007

Watanabe Ken’s a Winner

Watanabe Ken (47) is finally a star! This week he was named as best actor at the 49th Blue Ribbon Awards for his role in last year’s “Ashita no Kioku” (Memories of Tomorrow). His career in Japan is long and distinguished, so much so that he was able to make a successful move to Hollywood. But the surprising thing is that this was his first starring role. The movie, about an aggressive advertising executive who is beset with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease, was very much Watanabe’s project. He was also executive producer and had been wanting to make the film for some time. Last year he also starred in Clint Eastwood’s “Letters from Iwo Jima”, which has been nominated for this year’s Oscars. The best actress Blue Ribbon went to Aoi Yu (21) for “Hula Girl” and “Hachimitsu to Kuroba” (Honey & Clover). Hula Girl was also chosen as best picture. The best newcomer awards were given to comedian Tsukaji Muga (35), one half of the duo Drunk Dragon, for his movie debut in “Mamiya Kyodai”; and former Takarazuka star Dan Rei (35) for her role in Yamada Yoji‘s samurai flick “Bushi no Ichibun”. SMAP heart throb Kimura Takuya (34) was nominated for his leading role in that movie, but declined as per the policy of his agency, Johnny’s Jimusho.