“Favorite Weirdo” Taika Waititi Wins Oscar Glory for Jojo Rabbit
The multi-talented Taika Waititi – writer, director, lead actor – took out the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay at the 2020 Oscars on Sunday evening in Los Angeles.
Adapted from Christine Leunens book “Caging Skies,” Jojo Rabbit tells the story of a lonely German boy who discovers that his single mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. Aided only by his imaginary friend — Adolf Hitler — Jojo must confront his blind nationalism as World War II continues to rage on.
Writing in the intersectional feminist website Wear Your Voice, culture critics Clarkisha Kent and Sherronda J. Brown comment that “Jojo Rabbit manages to be a genuinely funny comedic work in the era of “wokeness” precisely because it does what this kind of comedy should do: it mocks the oppressors and humanizes the oppressed. That Waititi, a Jewish and Indigenous Māori filmmaker, went on to win Best Adapted Screenplay for a Nazi comedy wherein he literally cosplays Hitler is both hilarious and just.”
Kent and Brown’s article “The Utter Deliciousness of Taika Waititi and Bong Joon Ho’s Oscar Wins” charts that their “favorite weirdo “Waititi and Bong Joon Ho clearly and refreshingly did not give any fucks this entire award season…and were still rewarded for such. Of course, the Oscars (and the powers that be behind them) will always try to take credit for this and spin it as part of their self-awareness, but… we’d argue that this is yet another strong case of these award ceremonies not mattering in the end and that we should all take this as a sign to do the fucking work we want to do where art is concerned, no matter who is watching. The point? Because in the end? They need us more than we need them.”
Meanwhile, The Times of Israel leads with Waititi’s win in their article “5 Jewish Moments from the 2020 Oscars,” noting that the Jojo Rabbit director received his award from two other Jewish actors Natalie Portman and Jewish actor Timothée Chalamet presented Waititi with the award. The Times of Israel quoted Waititi’s mother Robin Cohen from a January Variety interview saying that “Today, we know Hitler as the evil madman who engineered the torture and murder of millions of people. But if we don’t think more deeply about how he convinced half the world to help him, we leave the door open to a repeat performance. When Taika depicts him as the affable hero of a small boy’s imagination, our idea of Hitler is skewed like a needle scratching across a record. This imaginary Hitler reminds us of an uncomfortable reality — that in the right climate, what we come to imagine can be deadly.”
In his acceptance speech, Waititi dedicated the award “to all the indigenous kids in the world who want to do art and dance and write stories. We are the original storytellers and we can make it here as well.”