TIFF 2019’s People’s Choice award winner was difficult to call. On one hand several of the top films, including Joker, were dark and audience reactions were mixed at best. Then there were fan favourites like A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which while good, seemed a little bit too conventional. In the end of though, it was director Taika Waititi’s dark Nazi Germany-set “anti-hate satire,” Jojo Rabbit that brought home the award, and will probably be one of the most talked about films from now until awards season.
Jojo Rabbit follows the story of a young German boy (Roman Griffin Davis) who has big dreams of being a good Nazi. In his quest he is aided by his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler (who Waititi portrays himself). His world is turned upside down however when he finds out that his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a teenaged Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their home.
After finding out that his film had won, Waititi said in a statement released by TIFF that “It’s a huge honour and this is a massive deal for me. The outpouring of love and emotion and support for the film from the audiences was just the first time I’d experienced that and it’s going to stay with me forever. And now this award, it’s incredible.”
Waitiki is best known for directing the superhero blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok, as well as the vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows.
The winner of the TIFF People’s Choice awards typically goes on to win more awards and acclaim during awards season, including Oscars. In the past few years those films have included Green Room, La La Land, Room, 12 Years a Slave, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Slumdog Millionaire.
By: Roderick Thedorff