“It’s mind blowing to be nominated in the same category as Thelma Schoonmaker,” editor Tom Eagles admits about his first ever Oscar nomination for “Jojo Rabbit.” He adds that she “is an editing idol of mine and a god in the field, so yeah I am blown away!” Watch our exclusive video interview with Eagles above.
In writer/director Taika Waititi‘s satirical “Jojo Rabbit,” Johannes “Jojo” Betzler, a young boy (Roman Griffin Davis) during WW2 Germany discovers that his single mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) has been hiding Jewish girl Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) in the attic of their home. Jojo befriends Elsa and confronts his own prejudices while also interacting with his imaginary friend, a neurotic and moronic Adolf Hitler (Waititi), who follows him throughout his journey of self-discovery. The film has been a hit on the awards circuit over the last few months, nabbing six Oscar nominations including for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress (Johansson).
Eagles was taken by surprise when he heard of his nomination, which was announced around 2am local New Zealand time. Just hours after this interview, he then went on to win the ACE Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature Film (Comedy), which now puts him in a good position to potentially repeat on Oscar night.
The New Zealander says his challenge on this project was to strike the right balance between comedy and drama. While “Jojo Rabbit” starts off as an absurdist satire, it evolves into a poignant character study and exploration of prejudice and hatred.
“That was our job on the film,” he explains. “To manage the transition from the comedy to the really heartfelt drama. We start by slapping them in the face with a pretty outrageous comedy and then we transition slowly over the course of the film,” Eagles says. “It was important to keep those balls in the air all the time although the balance does shift slowly. There are signposts all the way through, like when Jojo and Rosie see the bodies in the square. I was adamant that that had to be as early as possible in the film after we had maybe 15 minutes of pure comedy and then likewise at the end of the film we never pulled the comedy out entirely,” he reveals. “We always had to re-balance, without betraying the expectations of the audience.”
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