Jojo Rabbit just earned a key victory in the 2020 Oscars race.
The dramedy from director Taika Waititi won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival Sunday, the prize that in the past has typically gone to movies that went on to become Best Picture nominees or winners at the Academy Awards.
In fact, since 2009, the TIFF People’s Choice Award winner was ultimately nominated for Best Picture nine out of ten times, and it won Best Picture three times.
One of those instances was last year, when Green Book picked up the TIFF People’s Choice Award in what was, in retrospect, the first major sign of its eventual Best Picture triumph. Best Picture winners 12 Years a Slave and The King’s Speech also previously won the TIFF award, which is voted on by audiences at the festival.
Jojo Rabbit wasn’t as well received by critics as other TIFF films like Ford v Ferrari and Marriage Story, though. Dubbed an “anti-hate satire,” the movie features Waititi playing an imaginary version of Adolf Hitler, and it currently holds a 75 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus noting its “blend of irreverent humor and serious ideas definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste.”
The runners up for the TIFF People’s Choice Award were Marriage Story and Parasite, both of which are strong contenders to become Best Picture nominees, although runners up for the audience award don’t always score nominations. Of last year’s runners up, one, Roma, was nominated for Best Picture, while the other, If Beale Street Could Talk, was not.
Jojo Rabbit, which also stars Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, and Alfie Allen, hits theaters on Oct. 18. Brendan Morrow