Oscars: Taika Waititi Urges Indigenous People To Chase Their Storytelling Dreams

Taika Waititi has already made quite a mark in the film industry. Over his career, he has been responsible for creating a hilarious faux vampire docuseries, elevating the story arc of Marvel’s Odinson, and having a hand in a critically-acclaimed adaptation of a George Lucas creation. Now, the actor/writer/director has a new addition to his resume that can never be taken away: Academy Award winner.

At the 92nd annual Academy Awards this past Sunday, Waititi earned the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for his quirky and heartfelt film Jojo Rabbit. The fan-favorite filmmaker graciously made his way to the stage to accept his new golden statue. As part of his speech, the Māori descendant made sure to share his win with those like him:

“I dedicate this 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.”

Related – JoJo Rabbit is a Funny, Endearing and Important Anti-Hate Satire; Nerd Flix & Chill

Waititi’s message was graciously received by many who share his culture and those who were tied to the story in one way or another. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “I know we’re all incredibly proud of him. I don’t see many movies but I’ve seen that one, and not many people could pull off an amazing film like that.”

Christine Leunens, the author of the book Caging Skies (which Waititi adapted into Jojo Rabbit), added:

“I feel that Taika took the message of the story and he put notes of hope and humour to bring it to a contemporary audience, offering a message that the story has become relevant again today.”

Ella Henry, a Māori screen industry commentator at the Auckland University of Technology, formed a comparison between the Māori culture, Waititi’s past works, and the story of Jojo Rabbit. “If you look at the way Taika’s films have evolved to use humour and pathos to express trauma, he elevates survival by bringing that pathos and humour and resilience to those stories,” she said. “So I would say it’s a very Māori story.”

It had been a long time coming for the filmmaker, who’s first Oscar nomination came in 2005 for his short film Two Cars, One Night. Then came What We Do In The ShadowsThor: RagnarokThe Mandalorian, and now his Academy award-winning Jojo Rabbit. As the first Māori filmmaker to win an adapted screenplay Oscar, Taika Waititi has paved the way for all those who are like him, who have stories to tell and now have a figure that inspires them to pursue their dreams.

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Source: The Guardian.

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