Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit has won a Bafta for best adapted screenplay, with the New Zealand director thanking his mother and making a jab at Britain’s colonial history.
In his acceptance speech Waititi said it was “very cool” to receive the award, “coming from the colonies”.
Jojo Rabbit is an “anti-hate” Nazi satire and has been a controversial pick this award season, with the director saying the film’s divisiveness was designed to prompt discussion. “Where I come from, ‘divisive’ is not a swearword,” he has said.
Like many award winners, Waititi referenced Britain’s recent departure from the European Union in his acceptance speech.
“We know it’s been a hard week for you guys,” Waititi said. “It’s very nice to take a bit of your gold back home, where it belongs.”
Jojo Rabbit is based on Christine Leunens’s book Caging Skies, and was adapted by Waititi himself, who also directed and starred in the film. The film received mixed reviews from the world’s top critics.
In accepting his award, Waititi thanked his mother for introducing him to Leunens’s book and as the person who “made me read, taught me how to read, and insisted that I read – I love you for making me read”.
Jojo Rabbit has already won a slew of awards this season, and is nominated for six Oscars, including best picture and best adapted screenplay.
It is the most nominations for a New Zealand film-maker since Peter Jackson’s final Lord of the Rings film, which won all 11 Oscars it was nominated for in 2004.
In the film, Hitler, played by Waititi, is a comedic buffoon, a decision Waititi defended in an interview with the Guardian in December.
“Comedy has always, for thousands and thousands of years, been a way of connecting audiences and delivering more profound messages by disarming them and opening them up to receive those messages,” he said.
“Comedy is a way more powerful tool than just straight drama, because with drama, people tend to switch off or feel a sense of guilt or leave feeling depressed … Often it doesn’t sit with them as much as a comedy does.”
In 2005 Waititi received his first Oscar nomination for the short film Two Cars, One Night.