The film "Jojo Rabbit" won Sunday's audience award at the 44th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), bode well for this satirical comedy about Nazi Germany, as the Oscar race begins.
The director of the blockbuster "Thor: Ragnarok", Taika Waititi tells the story of a young German during the Second World War and his friendship with an imaginary version of Adolf Hitler.
Presented as an "anti-hate satire", the film tells how a child - a member of Nazi youths who love Nazi uniforms and burn books - discovers that her mother, played by Scarlett Johansson, is hiding a Jewish girl in the attic.
"Jojo Rabbit" wins over other competing films like "Marriage Story", also starring Scarlett Johansson, and the winner of the Cannes Palme d'Or "Parasite" of South Korean Bong Joon-ho.
The best director award was also given to Taika Waititi (for "Jojo Rabbit") while Franco-Senegalese director Mati Diop ("Atlantic") won the prize for young female talent.
The Toronto Public Prize, entirely determined by festival-goers' votes, has long predicted the success of Oscars.
The last seven winners have all been nominated for Oscars in the category "Best Film", two of which won the Oscar, such as "Green Book", a surprise win last year.
"12 Years a Slave" (2013), "The King's Speech" (2010) and "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008), all won the Toronto Award before winning the Oscar for Best Picture.
At its world premiere in Toronto, "Jojo Rabbit" has only received mixed reviews.
The TIFF is the biggest festival in North America, with this year a selection of 300 films from 84 countries and 133 previews.
Unlike previous years, the Audience Award was unveiled online, rather than at a ceremony.
Instead, the Festival held its first "tribute gala" on Monday to reward outstanding film careers with new awards.
Meryl Streep, who came to present a trillion produced by Netflix on the Panama Papers, "The Laundromat", won the best actress award.
The star of "Joker", Joaquin Phoenix, won the award for Best Actor.
© 2019 AFP