New Zealand national treasure Taika Waititi took out an Oscar this week and for that, we are glad.
The filmmaker and all-round genius took out Best Adapted Screenplay for his Hitler satire, Jojo Rabbit, making him the first Māori filmmaker in history to win an Oscar. And while it might be the first time he’s won, it’s not the first time he’s been nominated for his work.
Waititi was nominated for Best Short Film for his Two Cars, One Night back in 2005, and that, in addition to his 2010 award-winning film Boy, made Ted Talk curators come to the conclusion that this oddball Kiwi would be a great addition to their Tedx Doha lineup back in 2010.
In his TED Talk, an endearing, blue-vested Waititi chats about his creative processes—which includes thinking about horses eating hotdog buns, and wondering what clouds see when they daydream—and the various obsessions he had as a kid: cancer, robocops, and the Sistine Chapel.
Aside from reflecting on his transition from acting to filmmaking (‘I played a stripper on a TV show once, and I remember sitting around in the green room with my g-string and thinking, “Why am I doing this?”’), Waititi also talks about his fascination with Hitler and Nazi Germany; an insight that’s all the more interesting in the wake of Jojo Rabbit.
‘When I was quite young, maybe about 12, I started getting obsessed with drawing swastikas,’ he says. ‘I couldn’t help it, and I still feel guilty about it. Every time I drew one, on a notebook or something, I would instantly feel guilty, and I’d have to change it into windows. There was windows and houses all over my books and stuff because I was like “Someone is going to find out about the windows, so I had to disguise all the windows as houses.”‘