The Devil's Path (凶悪) (5 Nominations)
Director Kazuya Shiraishi's second feature film. Based on a true story of a convicted murder on death row. Starring Takayuki Yamada in the lead role with a strong support cast including Taki Pierre (ピエール瀧) and Lily Franky (リリー・フランキー).
A Boy Called H (少年H) (3 Nominations)
Based on the auto-biography of Kappa Senoh (妹尾河童), his real name is Hajime (肇) which is where the H in the title comes from. The story retells his memories of wartime Japan. Young actor Tatsuki Yoshioka (吉岡竜輝) picked up a nomination for Best Newcomer for his performance in the main role. There is an English translation of the book translated by John Bester.
Like Father, Like Son (そして父になる) (12 Nominations)
Hirozaku Koreeda (是枝裕和) has picked up many international awards for his critically acclaimed direction, but this is his first Japanese Academy Award nomination. Masahara Fukuyama (福山雅治), Machiko Ono (尾野真千子), Yoko Maki (真木よう子), and Lily Franky (リリー・フランキー) all pick up nominations for their portrayal of two couples who deal with the fall out after it is discovered their sons were switched at birth. There is a Hollywood remake in the works being headed up by Steven Spielberg. So check out the original.
Tokyo Family (東京家族) (12 Nominations)
Yoji Yamada (山田洋次) directed the original film version of The Yellow Handkerchief (幸福の黄色いハンカチ) which won the first Japanese Academy Award for Best Picture, although he didn't pick up the prize for best director. Yamada is well known for his Otoko wa Tsurai yo (男は辛いよ) series of films that spanned 48 releases from 1969 to 1995. Isao Hashizume (橋爪功), Kazuko Yoshiyuki (吉行和子), Satoshi Tsumabuki (妻夫木聡), and Yu Aoi (蒼井優) all got nominations for their performances.
The Great Passage (舟を編む) (13 Nominations)
Based on the book by Shion Miura (三浦しをん), and directed by young director Yuya Ishi (石井祐也). The Great Passage was nominated as the Japanese entry into the 86th American Academy Awards for best foreign film, but failed to make the short-list. The cast also picking up several nominations, including Ryuhei Matsuda (松田龍平), Aoi Miyazaki (宮崎あおい), Joe Odagiri (オダギリジョー), and Haru Kuroki (黒木華).
Ask this of Rikyu (利休にたずねよ) (9 Nominations)
Based on the historical novel by Kenichi Yamamoto (山本兼一). Features kabuki actor Ebizo Ichikawa (市川海老蔵) in the main role of Rikyu Senno (千利休) from ages 19 to 69, and for which he received a best actor nomination. Miki Nakatani (中谷美紀) also received a nomination for best actress.