Taika Waititi Just Received The Queen’s Birthday Honour For Services To Film

By Jessica Campbell
02 June 2020
Film, Director, Taika Waititi, Oscars, Hollywood
Despite winning an Oscar, it’s this award from his native New Zealand that means the most for Waititi

Most directors dream of winning an Oscar, and while Hollywood hot commodity Taika Waititi can boast of such an achievement, it’s his latest award that the director seems most fond of. Waititi was recently honoured on New Zealand’s Queen birthday list for services to film – an award film-goers everywhere can agree was most deserved.

Since bursting on the scenes with the hilarious film Boy, Waititi has been an unstoppable force, charming audiences with his quick wit, smart humour, and endearing characters. After working with Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Ragnarok, the director was credited with breathing new life into the rather stale superhero franchise, creating a character for Australia’s heartthrob that saw Hemsworth not only flex his muscles, but also showcase his emotional range as an actor. What then followed was the incredibly heartfelt (and again, hilarious) Jojo Rabbi which earned Waititi an Oscar, as well as a contribution to The Mandalorian that was said to have been the best in the season. Not surprisingly, Waititi is tapped to direct the next Star Wars film and the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder.

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But even despite the long list of Hollywood stars who can boast of having worked with the director, or the numerous accolades Waititi now holds to his name, it’s clear the director has his feet firmly grounded in home soil. Following the prestigious Queen birthday list honours, the director spoke with Radio New Zealand and revealed it was this award that meant the most to him, adding that Boy is also the film he’s most proud of.

“Personally, I make my stuff for New Zealanders first and foremost. They are my first audience. My peers and colleagues, to be recognised by them, people who are closer to my home, is more significant,” he said in an interview with the radio station.

New Zealand certainly share the honour of having an Oscar-winning director. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country was “incredibly proud of him.” This comes after Waititi was named New Zealander of the Year in 2017, using the opportunity to front a series of anti-racism campaigns. Meanwhile, his films Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople remain the highest-grossing New Zealand films of all time.

Via GQ Australia