Japan has selected Hirokazu Kore-eda’s family drama and Cannes Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters as its submission for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar category. The story of a family of small-time crooks who take in a child they find on the streets has been a box office winner at home, becoming the acclaimed director’s biggest title at local turnstiles having grossed over $39M.

The film has also scored in China where it recently became the highest grossing live-action Japanese movie ever in the market at $13.5M.

Kore-eda previously repped his home country with 2004’s Nobody Knows which did not make the shortlist. Japan bypassed his 2013 Cannes Jury Prize winner Like Father, Like Son which many believed should have been that year’s submission. Shoplifters‘ recent run has not been without controversy following speculation that Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe isn’t a fan and the fact Kore-eda turned down an invitation to celebrate the film at the culture ministry.

The country last won the FL Oscar with 2008’s Departures, and has scored 11 further nominations as well as taking three honorary prizes in the 1950s.

Shoplifters is set for a November 23 domestic release via Magnolia, after it plays the New York Film Festival. International sales are handled jointly by Gaga and Wild Bunch.

Below is the updated running list of this year’s submissions

2019 Foreign Language Film Oscar Submissions

    • BelarusCrystal Swan – Darya Zhuk
    • BelgiumGirl – Lukas Dhont
    • EstoniaTake It Or Leave It – Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo
    • JapanShoplifters – Hirokazu Kore-eda
    • RomaniaI Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians – Radu Jude
    • SlovakiaThe Interpreter – Martin Sulik
    • SwitzerlandEldorado – Markus Imhoof
    • TurkeyThe Wild Pear Tree – Nuri Bilge Ceylan
    • UK – I Am Not A Witch – Rungano Nyoni