Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit has won a top honour at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.
The movie, which was written and directed by the New Zealand-born filmmaker, is about a young boy who idolises Nazi leader Adolf Hitler until he finds out his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home.
Starring Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell, and based on Christine Leunens’s book Caging Skies, the controversial film scooped the Grolsch People’s Choice Award on Sunday.
Noah Baumbach’s semi-autobiographical divorce comedy-drama Marriage Story, which also stars Johansson, took second prize. The film follows an actress who decides to divorce her theatre director husband.
Third place – or second runner-up – was given to Bong Joon-ho’s satire Parasite, which could land a rare foreign language Best Picture nomination at the Oscars next year.
In other categories, Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s The Platform won The Midnight Madness audience award, while The Cave was feted with an audience award in the documentary section.
Waititi’s win has greatly increased Jojo Rabbit’s chances during awards season. Several other movies which have landed the same prize have gone on to secure the Academy Awards’ highest honour – the prize for Best Picture – including Green Book, 12 Years a Slave, The King’s Speech, and Slumdog Millionaire.
Previously, the 44-year-old spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about his struggle to get a well-known actor to play the role of the Nazi leader, and eventually decided to portray Hitler himself.
“Most people really loved the script. I think it was a little difficult for people to figure out if it was a good career move, and I can f**king totally understand. Who really wants to see themselves as Adolf Hitler on a poster?” Waititi joked.
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