This is really great and I dedicate this to all the indigenous kids who live in the world who want to do art, and dance, and write stories,” said Jojo Rabbit’s Taika Waititi tonight at the 92nd Academy Awards upon winning the Best Adapted Screenplay. “We are the original storytellers and we can make it here as well,” the New Zealand born Thor: Ragnarock director added.
The first Oscar for the notoriously witty Waititi, the Scarlett Johansson, Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie and Roman Griffin Davis-led Jojo is based on Christine Leunens’ 2008 novel Caging Skies about a fatherless young boy growing up in Hitler’s Germany. To that end, the Waititi portrayed Nazi leader becomes an imaginary surrogate father to the Hitler Youth member, even as his Johansson portrayed mother shelters a young Jewish girl in their home.
“I’d like to thank my mother, I don’t know where you are, Mum, I lost you hours ago,” joked Waititi, whose father is Māori and therefore makes him the first indigenous individual to win this Oscar. “Thank you for being my mother, and many other reasons, but for giving me the book that I adopted and this film wouldn’t have existed without you doing that,” Waititi noted, seemingly finding his Mum among the crowd at the Dolby.
Up against The Irishman’s Steven Zaillian, Joker’s Todd Phillips & Scott Silver, Little Women’s Greta Gerwig and The Two Popes’ Anthony McCarten, Jojo Rabbit star and director, as well as scribe, Waititi was the odd-on favorite to win the adapted category this year. Along with a Best Supporting Nomination for Johansson, Jojo Rabbit is also up for several other Oscars including Best Picture this year against Ford V Ferrari, The Irishman, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Parasite.