Koichi Sato won the Japan Academy Award for New Actor for his first-ever film appearance, in The Gate of Youth (1981), and went on to claim Japan Academy Awards for Crest of Betrayal (1994), Whiteout (2000), When the Last Sword Is Drawn (2003) and 64: Part 1 (2016), among many other acting honors. He has starred in over 100 films, but three recent titles that demonstrate his versatility are Red Snow (JC 2019), in which he’s an abusive alcoholic, Hit Me Anyone One More Time (2019), in which he’s a journalist hilariously blackmailing the prime minister, and The Promised Land (2019), in which he’s a mourning widower who has trouble with distrustful villagers. His upcoming films include Damashie, The Sun Does Not Move, and Silent Tokyo: And So This Is Christmas.
Ken Watanabe was catapulted into the global spotlight with his Golden Globe and Oscar-nominated role in Edward Zwick’s The Last Samurai (2003), and has remained there through a varied career that has also encompassed his Tony Award-nominated turn on Broadway in The King and I (2000), making him perhaps the most recognizable Japanese actor around the world. He has had starring roles in Hollywood hits Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Batman Begins (2005), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), Inception (2010), Godzilla (2014), Godzilla: King of Monsters (2019) and Detective Pikachu (2019). He has won the Japan Academy Award for Best Actor for Memories of Tomorrow (2007) and The Unbroken (2009), among many other honors. Watanabe is starring in the forthcoming Amazon series Tokyo Vice, based on the nonfiction book by Jake Adelstein.
About the CUT ABOVE Award
Established in 2012, the CUT ABOVE Award was created to recognize the exceptional work of individual performers and directors in recent Japanese cinema. Past recipients of the award include Koji Yakusho, Toshiaki Toyoda, Kazuki Kitamura, Sakura Ando, Lily Franky, Kirin Kiki, and Shinya Tsukamoto.