Taika Waititi took home his first Oscar on Sunday night in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for Jojo Rabbit

By Jen Juneau Brianne Tracy
February 10, 2020 09:22 AM
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Taika Waititi knows his 2020 Oscars acceptance speech was unique, but just like his winning script for Jojo Rabbit, he delivered it exactly how it was intended.

After taking the stage to accept his first Oscar on Sunday night in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for his work on the dark comedy, Waititi joked to reporters in the press room that his speech was “the worst” because he didn’t thank anyone for helping him on the project.

However, “You don’t want to go up there and actually say lots of people’s names. That seems like a waste of time,” he said. “I’ve said to people before I came here, ‘If I have to go up, I’m not going [to] thank you. Because why should I? I did all the typing. No one else did it. And all the words came from my head.'”

“So, bottom line, I’m not going to thank my lawyer for that. I love him. He’s done great stuff for me — he got me a bloody good deal on Thor: Love and Thunder, but he didn’t type anything on Jojo Rabbit,” Waititi, 44, explained. “So, you know, as far as acceptance speeches go, I think mine was probably the most truthful speech that anyone’s ever given. I think we can all agree on that.”

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Jojo Rabbit
Larry Horricks/Twentieth Century Fox
Taika Waititi at the 2020 Oscars
Steve Granitz/WireImage

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Waititi beat out fellow nominees Steven Zaillian for The Irishman, Anthony McCarten for The Two PopesGreta Gerwig for Little Women and Todd Phillips and Scott Silver for Joker to win the trophy.

“This is really light. This one’s light. It’s supposed to be heavy,” he joked while accepting the award before giving a sweet shout-out to his mother, thanking her for giving him the inspiration to make the film.

“I don’t know where you are, Mom, I lost you, hours ago,” Waititi quipped. “Thank you for being my mother and … for giving me the book that I adapted [Christine Leunens’ 2004 novel Caging Skies]. This film wouldn’t have existed without you doing that.”

He concluded his speech by dedicating the award to “all the indigenous kids all over the world who want to do art and dance and write stories. We are the original storytellers and we can make it here as well.”

Taika Waititi at the 2020 Oscars
Kevin Winter/Getty

Waititi, who is known for directing Thor: Ragnarok and What We Do in the Shadows, was nominated in 2005 for Best Live Action Short Film. This year, Jojo Rabbit was also nominated for Best Picture.

The movie’s cast includes Scarlett Johansson, Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Sam Rockwell, Alfie Allen and Rebel Wilson, and is based on Christine Leunens’ 2004 novel Caging Skies.

The story centers on Jojo, a lonely German boy who aspires to be a Nazi soldier and discovers that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home in the midst of World War II.

The movie received six Oscar nominations total, also including Costume Design, Production Design, Film Editing and a Best Supporting Actress nod for Johansson. The 35-year-old actress was additionally nominated in the Best Actress category for her role in Marriage Story.

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards aired live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 9.

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