Taika Waititi’s WW2 imaginary friend Hitler comedy “Jojo Rabbit” took the top prize at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday, nabbing the festival’s Audience Award. Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” and Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” claimed the runner-up prizes.
In recent years a TIFF People’s Choice Award is pretty much a guaranteed Best Picture nomination and often a sign of a winner in at least one major category. Last year’s Best Picture winner “Green Book” scored the prize, as have films such as “La La Land,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “Room,” and “Silver Linings Playbook”.
The award comes as the critics have been decidedly mixed on the film which sits around a dismal 50/100 on Metacritic, and the sentiment is that the film might be an “arthouse play” rather than a big crowd-pleaser, which makes it an aberration in the People’s Choice Award history at the fest.
Fox Searchlight is distributing ‘Jojo’ and is expected to give it a big awards push. Other winners on Sunday include Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s “The Platform” taking the Midnight Madness Award with Andrew Patterson’s “The Vast of Night” as runner-up. The People’s Choice Documentary Award went to Feras Fayyad’s “The Cave” with Garin Hovannisian’s “I Am Not Alone” as the runner-up.