×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Taika Waititi’s ‘Jojo Rabbit’ Wins Top Prize at Toronto Film Festival Awards

Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” has won the coveted People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

The honor positions the film for a potential Oscar run and bolsters its awards chances. That’s good news for Fox Searchlight, which must have been disappointed by the lackluster critical reception for the movie, a dark comedy set in the waning days of the Nazi Empire. Reviewers faulted the picture for delivering satire without the necessary sting, generally agreeing that “Jojo Rabbit” had stumbled out of the gate.

That no longer appears to be the case. Toronto’s top prize has uncanny predictive powers when it comes to selecting future Oscar winners. Last year’s winner, “Green Book,” went on to capture the Academy Award for Best Picture. Previous victors include “La La Land,” “Room,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and “The Imitation Game,” all of which went on to score with Oscar voters and other awards bodies. That track record has also helped position the festival as a key stop for awards season hopefuls.

The first runner-up for the People’s Choice award was Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” and the second runner-up was Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite,” both of which were more warmly received by critics. Netflix is backing “Marriage Story,” a bruising portrait of a disintegrating relationship that has been likened to “Kramer vs. Kramer.” Neon is releasing “Parasite,” a twisty thriller that provides a blistering commentary on income inequality.

Awards sages believe that “Marriage Story” could score a Best Picture Oscar nod along with nominations for Baumbach’s direction and screenplay, as well as for the performances of Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, and Laura Dern. “Parasite” seems destined to be a Best International Feature Film prize and could even elbow into the Best Picture and Best Director categories.

“Jojo Rabbit” stars Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, and Waititi, doing double duty as a buffoonish and imaginary Adolf Hitler. The film centers on a 10-year old boy whose love of the Nazi leader is challenged when he discovers that his mother is hiding a Jewish teenager.

““Thank you to the Toronto International Film Festival audiences for this tremendous honor,” Waititi said in a statement. “‘Jojo Rabbit’ is a story of tolerance and understanding set in a time that lacked both, and I hope in making this film we can remind ourselves that it’s still possible to connect with each other even under the most chaotic of circumstances—no matter what age, religion, race or gender.”

This year’s festival included several splashy premieres. “Hustlers,” “Joker,” and “Just Mercy” were among the big studio releases that raised their profiles by screening in Canada. “Joker” took the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, where it had its world premiere before heading to Toronto.

The People’s Choice Award in the Midnight Madness section, the festival’s genre platform, went to Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s “The Platform,” a thriller set in a dystopian future, and the documentary prize was handed out to “The Cave,” Feras Fayyad’s look at a doctor working in war-torn Syria.

Midnight Madness runner-up awards went to Andrew Patterson’s “The Vast of Night” and Jeff Barnaby’s “Blood Quantum.” In the documentary section the runners-up were Garin Hovannisian’s “I Am Not Alone” and Bryce Dallas Howard’s “Dads.” “The Vast of Night,” a sci-fi thriller that’s been likened to “The Twilight Zone,” scored a big sale to Amazon, while “Dads” sold to Apple.

More Film

  • dolittle-DRD_Tsr1Sht_1011_RGB_4_rgb-1

    Robert Downey Jr. Embarks on Perilous Journey in First 'Dolittle' Trailer (Watch)

    Robert Downey Jr. is setting sail with some furry friends in the first trailer for “Dolittle,” Universal Pictures’ reimagining of the classic story about a man who could speak to animals. “We have no choice but to embark on this perilous journey,” he says. Set to a rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” [...]

  • Parasite

    Bong Joon Ho's 'Parasite' Posts Powerful Opening in North America

    Bong Joon-Ho’s dark comedy “Parasite,” which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, has launched with a spectacular $376,264 at three U.S. theaters.  Neon opened “Parasite” at the The Landmark and Arclight Hollywood in Los Angeles and at the IFC Center in New York, where it broke the opening record set by 2014’s “Boyhood.” Its per-screen average [...]

  • Joker Movie

    'Joker' Dominates International Box Office With $124 Million

    “Joker” is showing impressive traction internationally with a second weekend of $123.7 million on 24,149 screens in 79 markets — a holdover decline of just 29%. Joaquin Phoenix’s psychological thriller has totaled $351.2 million outside North America after only 12 days in release. And with $192 million in domestic grosses, “Joker” has now topped $543 [...]

  • Joker

    'Joker' Remains Box Office Ruler With $55 Million

    Joaquin Phoenix is king of the North American box office once again as “Joker” scores an easy victory in its second weekend with $55 million at 4,374 sites. “Joker” dominated a trio of new entries with animated comedy “The Addams Family” leading the rest of pack with $30.3 million at 4,007 venues, topping forecasts. Will [...]

  • French director Bertrand Tavernier attends the

    Bertrand Tavernier on Coppola, Scorsese, Cayatte, Cinema’s Bright Future

    Veteran French director Bertrand Tavernier (“Round Midnight”) – president and director of the Institut Lumière and Lumière Festival, which he co-manages with Cannes’ Thierry Frémaux – has played a pivotal role in restoring classic French films and defending the importance of French directors, such as Claude Autant Lara, Henri Decoin and André Cayatte, who were [...]

  • 'Philharmonia'

    French Series 'Philharmonia' Sells to the U.K., the U.S. and Australia (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Philharmonia,” a French thriller series set in the world of a national orchestra, has been acquired in English-speaking territories from Lagardere Studios Distribution. “Philharmonia,” which was created and co-written by Marine Gacem, has been acquired by First Look Media’s Topic for SVOD rights in the U.S., and Walter Presents for the U.K. and Australia. “Philharmonia” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content