'Drive My Car' Cast and Crew React to Surprise Oscar Nominations

The Japanese drama is the latest foreign language film to break through with a Best Picture nomination.

The 2022 Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday, and one pleasant surprise was the recognition for Drive My Car, a Japanese drama that has become the latest foreign-language nominee to break out of the International Film category and earn major Academy recognition.

After a Best Foreign Language Film win at the Golden Globes earlier this year, Drive My Car -- directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi and based on Haruki Murakami's short story of the same name -- was certainly expected to be a contender in the Best International Feature Film category. However, the film scored additional nods for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as a Best Picture nomination.

Members of the cast and crew reacted to the nominations in statements to ET:

Ryusuke Hamaguchi, director, co-screenwriter:

"When I got off the plane today to serve on the jury of this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, I was truly surprised to find that the film had been nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and  Best International Feature Film.

What I can say for sure is that the universality of Haruki Murakami's story is at the root of this recognition. Even if you lose someone you truly love, life goes on. It is a harsh life, but it is not without a pinch of hope. And I think the burden on the actors to embody and realize the world of this story was immeasurable. I would like to take this opportunity to express my respect and gratitude to Hidetoshi Nishijima and all the actors for their sincere commitment to their roles.

I hope that these nominations will bring the wonderful performances of the actors, and the entire Drive My Car team, to the attention of a wider audience. Thank you very much to the Academy for this honor."

Teruhisa Yamamoto, producer:

"Many of us filmmakers would probably say that the first movie we saw when we were children was an American one. The stories were dramatic, the images and sounds were powerful and dynamic, and the actors were fascinating. With an onscreen history that has influenced the world, the United States is truly a film kingdom. To be nominated for the Academy Award is a dream come true. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to director Ryusuke Hamaguchi and all the wonderful people I worked with to make this film. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the Academy members who voted for Drive My Car. Thank you very much."

Takamasa Oe, co-screenwriter:

"When I heard the great news, the first thing I remembered is the night I had my first drink with director Ryusuke Hamaguchi and producer Teruhisa Yamamoto. At that time, no one could have imagined what would happen today. I'm truly amazed at the power of film and how it connects us across the globe. I believe that this nomination belongs to the entire Drive My Car team. I am so fortunate to have been able to connect with every one of them. Many thanks to the Academy members who voted for Drive My Car for this nomination."

Hidetoshi Nishijima, lead actor:

"I’m very pleased that Drive My Car has been nominated for four categories of the Academy Award. And congratulations to the director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Takamasa Oe and all the staff. This beautiful story of the rebirth of a soul is a beacon of hope that brings people back together from a divided world. We hope that with this great news, Drive My Car will reach even more people."

Toko Miura, lead actress:

"Congratulations to everyone involved in this film on the nomination for four categories of the Academy Award. I am very, very happy. And I realize once again how lucky I am to be able to be involved in such a film. I am filled with gratitude."

The 2022 Oscars air live on Sunday, March 27 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC. In the meantime, stay tuned to ETonline.com for complete Oscars coverage and check out highlights from last year's ceremony in the video below.