October 20, 2019

‘Jojo Rabbit,’ Comedy Set in Nazi Germany, is People’s Choice at Toronto Film Fest

(From L-R): Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) has dinner with his imaginary friend Adolf (Writer/Director Taika Waititi), and his mother, Rosie (Scarlet Johansson). Photo by Kimberley French. 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Could a comedy set in Nazi Germany that casts Adolf Hitler as a buffoonish imaginary friend win an Oscar? “Jojo Rabbit” won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, an honor that usually leads to an Oscar nomination, if not a win. Last year, “Green Book” won both, as did “The King’s Speech,” “12 Years a Slave” and “American Beauty” before it.

Also getting Oscar buzz is TIFF runner-up “Marriage Story,” Noah Baumbach’s drama about the disintegration of a relationship. Scarlett Johansson stars in both.

In “Jojo Rabbit,” Johansson plays a German mother who is secretly hiding a Jewish girl in her home. Her young son, indoctrinated to revere the Fuhrer, is shocked when he discovers this and comes to reconsider what he’s been taught. Director Taika Waititi (“Thor: Ragnarok”), who is Jewish on his mother’s side and Maori on his father’s, plays Hitler.

The film, based on Christine Leunens’ novel “Caging Skies,” will be released Oct. 18. “Marriage Story” hits theaters on Nov. 6, and streams on Netflix Dec. 6.