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Nelson author of book that inspired Jojo Rabbit calls Taika Waititi's Oscar win 'unbelievable'

The Nelson author of the book that inspired the Oscar-winning film Jojo Rabbit says the result feels “unbelievable”.

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Christine Leunens novel Caging Skies’ formed the basis of the Hollywood film. Source: 1 NEWS

Christine Leunens' novel Caging Skies formed the basis of the major film, which won Kiwi director Taika Waititi best adapted screenplay at the 92nd Academy Awards.

Leunens wrote the international bestseller more than 15 years ago but it was Waititi’s mother, Robin Cohen, who first suggested he adapt the story for the big screen.

It tells the story of a 10-year-old German boy and member of the Hitler Youth, who discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl behind a false wall in their home.

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The Jojo Rabbit director today became the first Māori to win an Oscar. Source: 1 NEWS

In an interview with 1 NEWS straight after the ceremony, Leunens said the win was only just starting to sink in.

“It was just so amazing. All of us were so touched and absolutely so moved to have this recognition with this tradition.

Taika Waititi pulls cheeky face as he hides Oscar under chair at star-studded ceremony

“When Taika got best adapted screenplay, it was disbelief and then about 15 minutes [later], as everything just continued, I was just so emotional and that’s when I just began to cry."

She felt the best adapted screenplay award was one for everyone who had been involved with the story’s “long journey”.

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The Jojo Rabbit director earned an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay. Source: 1 NEWS

“Not only when I was writing the novel, but other people before me - the people who had done the research that I built the novel on, the French woman who married the Polish Jewish man.

"Somehow I managed to take their stories and put a twist … right until Taika, who put his own twists and touches on the story. So that feels very amazing”.

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The PM acknowledged Waititi’s first Oscar win, which came for Jojo Rabbit. Source: 1 NEWS

Jojo Rabbit was also nominated for five other Academy Awards, including best picture.