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Taika Waititi's WWII satire 'Jojo Rabbit' wins Toronto Film Festival people's choice award

Brian Truitt, USA TODAY

In the race toward Oscar, Taika Waititi scored a big early win.

The writer/director's World War II satire "Jojo Rabbit" won the Grolsch People's Choice Award on Sunday at Toronto International Film Festival. Set in the waning days of the war, "Jojo" stars Roman Griffith Davis as a 10-year-old boy who's a member of the Nazi youth and Waititi plays a goofy imaginary-friend version of Adolf Hitler.

First runner-up was the Netflix relationship drama "Marriage Story," starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a young couple going through a divorce. Second runner-up was South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's class-warfare black comedy "Parasite."

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Adolf (Taika Waititi, left) and Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) crash the hand-grenade event at a Nazi youth training weekend in

The audience award – the top prize at the annual North American film festival – is an Oscar bellwether. In 10 of the past 11 years, the honoree has gone on to score a best picture nomination at the Academy Awards, and in four instances won the category: 2008's "Slumdog Millionaire," 2010's "The King's Speech," 2013's "12 Years a Slave" and last year's "Green Book."

Dystopian sci-fi film "The Platform" won the Grolsch People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award, while the documentary award went to "The Cave," about a female pediatrician who runs a subterranean hospital in Syria and treats victims of the ongoing conflict.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Jojo Rabbit': Taika Waititi's satire wins Toronto Film Festival award