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TIFF 2019: 'Jojo Rabbit' wins People’s Choice Award

Writer-director-actor Taika Waititi posing for a portrait to promote his film, "Jojo Rabbit," at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel during the Toronto International Film Festival.   | Photo Credit: AP

The TIFF audience has made an unexpected but nifty choice for the best festival film this year. Taika Waititi’s hilarious and biting, provocative and factious takedown of fascism, Jojo Rabbit, has bagged the Grolsch People’s Choice Award, beating Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story that was being considered the front-runner in the race. Baumbach’s searing up close and personal look at a marriage on the verge of breakdown ended up the first runner up. Both the films have Scarlett Johansson at her stellar best, marking it her year at TIFF. The second runner-up was Bong Joon-ho’s Cannes Palme D’Or winner Parasite.

"We need to remind ourselves there's no room in this world for hate and intolerance. Let's put an end to that, and replace it with love,” said Waititi on the win.

“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,” said Waiti on the film.


Grolsch People’s Choice Award is considered an early indicator of the eventual best film Oscar. Green Book last year or 12 Years A Slave, La La Land and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri have all been people’s picks at TIFF before striking it big at the Academy Awards. Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, however, has been divisive, not garnering universal approval from the critics. It’d be interesting to see if it would turn out to be a long distance runner or lose steam in the race to the Oscars.

This year marked the 42nd year that Toronto audiences were able to cast a ballot for their favourite festival film for the Grolsch People’s Choice Award. The award offers a $15,000 cash prize and a custom award, sponsored by Grolsch.

“TIFF 2019 was a stellar year,” said Cameron Bailey, TIFF Co-Head and Artistic Director and Joana Vicente, TIFF Co-Head and Executive Director. “The films and talent featured in this year’s festival have left us inspired, awestruck, and excited for the future of cinema.”

(The writer is in Toronto at the invitation of TIFF.)

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Printable version | Sep 16, 2021 2:24:45 AM |

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