Taking the top prize at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit has catapulted itself into the awards season as a serious contender.
TIFF announced Sunday that the New Zealand filmmaker’s follow-up to Marvel juggernaut Thor: Ragnarok had won the Grolsch People’s Choice Award, the highest honor at the prestigious event, defeating the likes of Netflix’s Marriage Story (first runner-up), Bong Joon-ho’s Palme d’Or champion Parasite (second runner-up), as well as Todd Phillips’ Joker, which made its North American premiere in Toronto shortly after receiving the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion award.
A self-defined “anti-hate satire,” Waititi’s controversial comedy follows a young Nazi fanatic (Roman Griffin Davis) trying to navigate through the final days of World War II with his imaginary friend, Hitler (Waititi himself), and the young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) who’s been hiding in-between his walls.
Ever since Jojo Rabbit, which also stars Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, and Rebel Wilson, made its world premiere in Toronto, the film has received polarizing reviews from critics. But even so, it joins the ranks of several other features that later went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, including last year’s Green Book, 2013’s 12 Years A Slave, and 2010’s The King’s Speech.
In that spirit, TIFF’s People’s Choice Award has become a barometer for future Oscar nominations, with films like La La Land, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and Room all receiving boosts out of the festival. Though none of those went on to win the big prize at the Dolby Theater, all three of their leading ladies – Emma Stone, Frances McDormand, and Brie Larson respectively – went home with the Best Actress statuette.
Jojo Rabbit will open in cinemas on October 18th.