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'Jojo Rabbit' wins top prize in Toronto

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Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit has won the coveted People's Choice Award at this year's Toronto International Film Festival (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit has won the coveted People's Choice Award at this year's Toronto International Film Festival.

The honour positions the film for a potential Oscar run and bolsters its awards chances.

That's good news for Fox Searchlight, which may have been disappointed by the lacklustre critical reception for the movie, a dark comedy set in the waning days of the Nazi Empire.

Reviewers faulted the picture for delivering satire without the necessary sting, generally agreeing that "Jojo Rabbit" had stumbled out of the gate.

That no longer appears to be the case.

Toronto's top prize has uncanny predictive powers when it comes to selecting future Oscar winners.

Last year's winner, Green Book, went on to capture the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Previous victors include La La Land, Room, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and The Imitation Game, all of which went on to score with Oscar voters and other awards bodies.

That track record has also helped position the festival as a key stop for awards season hopefuls.

The first runner-up for the People's Choice award was Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story and the second runner-up was Bong Joon-ho's Parasite, both of which were more warmly received by critics.

Netflix is backing Marriage Story, a bruising portrait of a disintegrating relationship that has been likened to Kramer vs. Kramer, while Neon is releasing Parasite, a twisty thriller that provides a blistering commentary on income inequality.

Jojo Rabbit stars Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, and Waititi, doing double duty as a buffoonish and imaginary Adolf Hitler.

The film centres on a 10-year old boy whose love of the Nazi leader is challenged when he discovers that his mother is hiding a Jewish teenager.

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