For Your Consideration: Jojo Rabbit

Dept. of AMPAS


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Someone once said that the secret to good comedy is…

… timing.

What better timing for a film about mocking fascists to win the Oscar for Best Picture?

What better time than now for a full-on comedy,  with some heartbreaking dramatic elements, to win the best Picture Oscar, rather than the usual dramatic films that have a sprinkling of comedy?

Of recent years comedies have not been well rewarded in the Best Picture stakes. 2014’s winner Birdman could be considered a comedy, at a stretch. Before that, you’d have to look at 2011’s The Artist. A couple of winners from the 90s, however, could bode well for Jojo’s chances.

Both Shakespeare in Love (Best Picture, 1998) and Forrest Gump (Best Picture, 1994) indicate that the Academy likes to reward films that put a new spin on history.  Taika Waititi’s flouncing, ridiculous imaginary friend version of Adolf Hitler, and Nazis in general, should have the former führer spinning in his grave to the extent that he’d generate enough power for entire continent!

It should be noted that Roberto Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful (La vita è bella), a film that also featured a parent trying to plot a happy path through the horrors of WWII for their child, lost out to Shakespeare in Love in 1998. It did end up taking home awards for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor for Roberto Benigni.

Looking at Jojo’s competitors this year, they all suffer from some ailment or other.

Ford v Ferrari is too traditional. 

The Irishman is too long.

Joker too obviously “angsty”.

Marriage Story too ordinary.

1917 is too technical and Once upon a Time…in Hollywood too meandering. Little Women and Parasite… well Parasite is simply too good for The Academy to reward with Best Picture and the’ve already snubbed Greta Gerwig (and plenty of other women directors) in the Best Director category and will most likely present her with Best Adapted Screenplay instead, a fate that could equally befall Jojo.

When looking at the other Oscar categories it’s nominated in, Jojo Rabbit is one of those films that transcends the technical, acting, or producition categories. It all comes together to tell the heartbreaking tale of a young boy growing up in a tumultuous time and having all his illusions shattered. It’s about finding friendship where you least expect it. It’s about Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Alfie Allen, and Rebel Wilson doing the worst German accents in history. It’s about Roman Griffin Davis’s Jojo realising that the world is not as simple as he once believed, that he’s been standing on the wrong side of history, but not so long that he should just keep going. No feeling is final.

It also deserves a Best Picture Oscar.

Jojo Rabbit
108 minutes
Director: Taika Waititi
Writers: Taika Waititi (Screenplay) and Christine Leunens (Novel)
Cast: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson, Taika Waititi, Sam Rockwell, Sam Rockwell, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant, and Archie Yates

Oscar Nominations: Adapted Screenplay, Costume Design, Film Editing, Production Design, Adapted Screenplay, Best Picture.

Irish Film lover lost in Malaysia. Co-host of Malaysia's longest running podcast (movie related or otherwise ) McYapandFries and frequent cryer in movies. Ask me about "The Ice Pirates"

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