Martin Scorsese, Cindy Sherman to receive Japan’s Praemium Imperiale award

Filmmaker Martin Scorsese.
Filmmaker Martin Scorsese.
(Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

Martin Scorsese will receive Japan’s highest cultural honor as he works to complete his latest film, the Japan-themed religious epic “Silence.”

The filmmaker is set to receive the Praemium Imperiale in October for his lifetime contributions to cinema. Officials in Japan announced Tuesday that the roster of 2016 honorees would also include American visual artist Cindy Sherman, Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer, Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha and French sculptor Annette Messager.

The annual Praemium Imperiale recognizes career achievements in five categories: painting, sculpture, architecture, music and theater or film.


Sherman is being honored in the painting category even though she is most widely known for her photographic portraits. A major exhibition of her work, “Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life,” is on view at the Broad museum in downtown Los Angeles through Oct. 2.

Medals will be presented by Japan’s Prince Hitachi in an awards ceremony held in Tokyo on Oct. 18. Each laureate receives an honorarium of 15 million yen (about $146,000).

“Silence” is Scorsese’s long-gestating adaptation of the 1966 Shusaku Endo novel. Set in the 17th century, the novel follows a pair of Jesuit missionaries from Portugal who travel to Japan in search of their mentor, who has renounced his faith.

Though the movie takes place in Japan, Scorsese filmed it in Taiwan. The film stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Tadanobu Asano and Liam Neeson.

Paramount hasn’t announced a release date for “Silence,” which is in post-production. The official Praeumium site states the film is to be released this year.

Other filmmakers who have received the Praemium Imperiale include Francis Ford Coppola, Abbas Kiarostami, Ken Loach, Jean-Luc Godard, Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Marcel Carné and Akira Kurosawa.