Tue. Aug 11th, 2020

Toronto: Taika Waititi’s ‘Jojo Rabbit’ is the 2019 TIFF People’s Choice winner

Courtesy of TIFF

Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story is first runner up; Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite is second runner up

Taika Waititi’s “anti-hate” satire Jojo Rabbit, about a young German boy who is befriended by an imaginary Adolf Hitler, triumphed over stiff competition to take the 2019 Grolsch People’s Choice Award at the 44th Toronto International Film Festival. It comes with a $15,000 cash prize and a custom award, sponsored by Grolsch.  While the film was (obviously) a huge hit with audiences, the critics split hard on it, ending up with a 52 on Metacritic but a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Since 2010, in the era of Oscar’s expanded Best Picture race, all but one TIFF People’s Choice winner has gone on to a Best Picture nomination with three winning (2010’s The King’s Speech, 2012’s 12 Years a Slave and last year’s Green Book, which was a TIFF world premiere). 2011’s Where Do We Go Now is the lone exception. Last year, Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk was the first runner up while Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma was second runner up. Beale Street was nominated for three Oscars and won one (Supporting Actress, Regina King) while Roma was nominated for 10, including Best Picture, and won three (Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Foreign Language Film, as it was called at the time). This is the second year in row that a film which had its world premiere at Toronto has won the festival’s top prize.

Jojo Rabbit will be released by Fox Searchlight on October 18; Netflix releases Marriage Story in select theaters November 6 and then streaming on December 6; Neon drops Parasite on October 11.

“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 Grolsch People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award goes to Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s The Platform. The first runner-up is Andrew Patterson’s The Vast of Night. The second runner-up is Jeff Barnaby’s Blood Quantum.

The Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award goes to The Cave, directed by Feras Fayyad. The first runner-up is Garin Hovannisian’s I Am Not Alone. The second runner-up is Bryce Dallas Howard’s Dads.

Other TIFF winners included:


The IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Short Film goes to Chloé Robichaud for Delphine. The jury remarked, “By presenting its main character’s unique point of view through another character’s perspective, Robichaud’s Delphine boldly utilizes an original narrative device to offer a refreshing twist on the coming-of-age genre. This evocative, mysterious, yet sensitive short film brings up powerful feelings of nostalgia and memory, leaving an impact that lingers with the viewer long after its all-too-short run time comes to a close.” The award offers a $10,000 cash prize, made possible by IWC Schaffhausen. The jury awarded an honourable mention to Theodore Ushev’s The Physics of Sorrow for its impressive filmmaking and detailed craftsmanship.


The IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Short Film goes to Lasse Linder for All Cats Are Grey in the Dark. The jury noted, “Blurring the line between narrative and documentary, Linder’s All Cats Are Grey in the Dark simultaneously observes its main character — and its topic — with both empathy and absurdity. This unexpectedly touching, exceptionally composed, and tender tale of a man’s love for his cats (along with the best employed use of Alexa) surprised the jury with its observational filmmaking and memorable feline performances.” The award offers a $10,000 cash prize, made possible by IWC Schaffhausen.

The short-film awards below were selected by a jury comprised of Chelsea McMullan, Léo Soesanto, and Andrea Roa. The jury gave honourable mention to Federico Luis Tachella’s The Nap for its brave exploration of age and sexuality.

The Canadian awards below were selected by a jury comprised of Magali Simard, Devyani Saltzman, and Alicia Elliott.


The City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film goes to Matthew Rankin’s The Twentieth Century. The jury remarked, “Rankin’s debut feature is superb in its imaginative wildness, taking an otherwise staid historical Canadian figure and propelling him into the heart of one of the most creative, visual, and compelling experiences of the Festival.” This award carries a cash prize of $15,000, made possible by the City of Toronto.


The Canada Goose ® Award for Best Canadian Feature Film goes to Sophie Deraspe’s Antigone. The jury said that “Antigone stands out on its own as an electrifying piece of cinema. Tackling with vigour contemporary realities of immigration in Canada through the framework of Greek tragedy, Deraspe created magnificent onscreen humanism. It is imperative to point out Nahéma Ricci’s performance, reminiscent of Renée Falconetti’s Jeanne d’Arc.” This award carries a cash prize of $30,000 and a custom award, sponsored by Canada Goose ® . The jury gave honourable mention to Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn’s The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open.


Selected by a jury from the Network for the Promotion of Asian Pacific Cinema (NETPAC), the NETPAC Award goes to Oualid Mouaness’ 1982. Jury members include Chairperson Beckie Stocchetti, Kanako Hayashi, and Albert Shin. The jury remarked that this film was selected “for its adventurous, imaginative style and subtle, confident filmmaking, bravely juxtaposing and framing the universal innocence and charm of youth within harrowing historical context.”

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