Austria celebrates after double Globes win

'The White Ribbon,' Christoph Waltz score big for little country

BERLIN -- Tiny Austria is in a party mood after two of its nationals won Golden Globes on Sunday: Michael Haneke taking the best foreign-language film prize for "The White Ribbon" and Christoph Waltz winning best supporting actor for his turn in "Inglourious Basterds."

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann congratulated Haneke and Waltz on their "extraordinary achievements" and hoped their example would act as "incentive and motivation" for the entire Austrian film scene.

"Things couldn't be better," said Martin Schweighofer, managing director of the Austrian Film Commission. "After winning the Oscar (in 2008) for "The Counterfeiters," there's been an avalanche of honors for Austrian filmmakers. We're almost getting used to it."

Schweighofer wouldn't be drawn into the controversy over the national identity of "The White Ribbon." Though writer/director Haneke is Austria, the film was submitted to the Globes as a German production and will contend for the foreign language Oscar under the German flag.

"Naturally Haneke is an Austrian filmmaker, or a European filmmaker if you prefer, but I think arguing over the film's national label it's a bit narrow-minded," he said. "In this day and age, with so many co-productions, the Oscar rules are outdated. The important thing is the film and that more people get to see it."

That seems certain following the Globe nod. Many critics had thought "The White Ribbon" was too far from the mainstream to be an Oscar contender but after Sunday's win, Haneke's film is the foreign language title to beat.

Waltz's chances for Oscar gold have also gone up. The 54-year-old Vienna native is already being treated as Hollywood's next big thing. His follow-up to "Inglourious Basterds" will be opposite Seth Rogen in Michael Gondry's "The Green Hornet," which Sony is bowing stateside Dec. 22.

For his next role, Waltz will be staying closer to home, playing fellow Viennese Sigmund Freud in David Cronenberg's "The Talking Cure."
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