Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” has won the Grolsch People’s Choice Award as the audience’s favorite movie at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF announced on Sunday.
The black comedy deals with a 10-year-old German boy in World War II who idolizes Adolf Hitler but is forced to reconsider his ideals when he discovers that his mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in their house. The film drew largely positive reviews at TIFF, but offended some who felt that Hitler and Nazis were not a laughing matter.
It beat Todd Phillips’ “Joker” for the award, as well as less divisive films that included Marielle Heller’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and Fernando Meirelles’ “The Two Popes.”
Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” was the first runner-up, while Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” was second runner-up.
The Midnight Madness audience award went to Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s “The Platform,” with the runner-up awards going to Andrew Patterson’s “The Vast of Night” and Jeff Barnaby’s “Blood Quantum.”
Feras Fayyad’s Syrian-set “The Cave” won the audience award in the documentary section, with runners-up being Garin Hovannisian’s “I Am Not Alone” and Bryce Dallas Howard’s “Dads.”
The NETPAC jury from the Promotion of Asian Cinema gave its top award to Oualid Mouaness’ “1982.”
The Canada Goose Award for the best Canadian feature in the festival was given to Sophie Deraspe’s “Antigone,” with honorable mentions going to Elle-Maija Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn’s “The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open.” The award for the best first feature by a Canadian filmmaker went to Matthew Rankin’s “The Twentieth Century.”
Lasse Linder’s “All Cats Are Grey in the Dark” won the award for the festival’s best short film, while Chloe Robichaud’s “Delphine” won the prize for the best Canadian short.
The film that wins TIFF’s People’s Choice Award has gone on to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination 10 times in the last 11 years, with four TIFF winners – “Green Book” last year, “12 Years a Slave” in 2013, “The King’s Speech” in 2010 and “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2008 – winning the Oscar in that time.
While “12 Years” and “King’s Speech” were already high-profile awards contenders the years they won, “Slumdog Millionaire” got a big awards boost in Toronto, and “Green Book” was a sleeper whose People’s Choice win was the first sign that it could be a serious Oscar film.
The other TIFF winners over the past decade were “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “La La Land,” “Room,” “The Imitation Game,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Precious” and the only one not to land an Oscar nod, “Where Do We Go Now?”
In that time, six films that were runners-up in TIFF voting also went on to land Best Picture nominations, and two of them – “Argo” in 2012 and “Spotlight” in 2015 – won the Oscar.
All of the 245 feature films that screened at the festival were eligible for the People’s Choice Award, which is decided by online voting from festivalgoers. Vote verification procedures are used to prevent ballot-box stuffing, with the winner being the film that receives the highest percentage of votes when compared to the size of the audience that viewed it at TIFF.
Other films that were eligible for the award this year include James Mangold’s “Ford v Ferrari,” Kasi Lemmons’ “Harriet,” Lorene Scafaria’s “Hustlers,” Destin Daniel Cretton’s “Just Mercy,” Cory Finley’s “Bad Education,” Craig Brewer’s “Dolemite Is My Name,” Rupert Goold’s “Judy,” the Safdie Brothers’ “Uncut Gems” and Trey Edward Shults’ “Waves.”