Jack Mathews to Oscar voters: If you’re looking for a longshot, don’t overlook ‘Jojo Rabbit’

With most of the Gold Derby Oscar experts predicting a Best Pcture win for either “1917” or “Parasite,” I’m wondering if Taika Waititi’s “Jojo” isn’t poised to pull a “Rabbit” out of the hat. (I’ll pause for the groan.”)

“Jojo” has displayed its popularity ever since winning the audience award at Toronto, and its six nominations cover the key categories for picture, director, adapted screenplay and film editing, plus one for Scarlett Johansson as supporting actress.

It won both the Writers Guild and BAFTA awards for Waititi’s screenplay and won the Eddie from the American Cinema Editors. I’m not a fan of the comedy – a little wisecracking Hitler goes a long way — but I know a minority when I’m in one and “Jojo” is, in Hollywood parlance, tracking.

SEE Taika Waititi (‘Jojo Rabbit’): Playing Hitler ‘doesn’t look cool’ and how comedy ‘opens audiences up’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

The weighted Best Picture system puts the most popular films in play, no matter how lukewarmly critics reviewed it. Metascore has “Jojo” at 58 out of 100 compared to 95 for “Parasite” and “The Irishman” and 84 for “1917.”  Critics were underwhelmed by “Joker” (59) and “Judy” (66), too, but their stars are almost certain to win.

It’s hard to imagine the divisive “Joker” being in the top three of enough ballots to win and though widely admired, Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” hasn’t had the emotional impact of his earlier mob movies and it’s been shut at the Golden Globes and all the guild awards.

PREDICT the Oscars now; change them until February 9

My favorite, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” seems to have run out of steam during the long awards season, but it is also nominated in all the right places and if any group has a reason to keep it high on their ballots, it’s the denizens of Hollywood in the academy.

Smart money may still be on a toss-up between “1917” and “Parasite” but don’t be surprised if one of the two biggest audience pleasers – “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” or “Jojo Rabbit” – wins the big prize.

Be sure to make your Oscar winner predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on February 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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