Brow Beat

Jojo Rabbit Wins at the Toronto International Film Festival

Taiki Waititi, in a still from Jojo Rabbit, leaps with joy, dressed as Hitler.
Jippi!
Fox Searchlight

The People’s Choice Award winner at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival has been announced, and the people have chosen Jojo Rabbit, director Taika Waititi’s adaptation of Christine Leunens’ novel Caging Skies, starring Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell. First runner-up for the People’s Choice Award was director Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, which also stars Scarlett Johansson; the film reportedly concerns a story about a marriage. Second runner-up was Parasite, from director Bong Joon-ho, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, but does not feature Scarlett Johansson.

Jojo Rabbit, about a 10-year-old in Nazi Germany whose imaginary friend is a buffoonish version of Adolf Hitler (played by Waititi himself), got a relatively indifferent critical reception, but its TIFF win puts it back in the awards conversation. Since Slumdog Millionaire won the TIFF People’s Choice Award back in 2008, all but one of the winners of Toronto’s highest prize have gone on to earn at least a Best Picture nomination, and The King’s Speech, 12 Years a Slave, and Green Book won outright. (The sole exception is Lebanese director Nadine Labaki’s Where Do We Go Now?, which won at TIFF in 2011 but was not nominated for Best Picture.) Todd Phillips’ Joker won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, so an awards faceoff between an anti-Nazi satire and a dark comic book movie may be on the way. It’s a good thing neither Nazis nor comic book fans are notorious for harassing people they disagree with online, or social media might become completely unusable!