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Austria shining

Austria, known more for Mozart than movies, is hoping to make it big at the Oscars next month. The birthplace of action megastar Arnold Schwarzenegger is also increasingly a film awards juggernaut.

entertainment Updated: Feb 14, 2010 01:40 IST

Austria, known more for

Mozart

than movies, is hoping to make it big at the Oscars next month. The birthplace of action megastar Arnold Schwarzenegger is also increasingly a film awards juggernaut.



Christoph Waltz, the front-runner for best supporting actor for

Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds

, is perhaps the most high-profile of the Austrians in contention at the March 7 ceremony.



Director Michael Haneke and cinematographer Christian Berger, meanwhile, are in the running for best foreign language film and best cinematography for their work on

The White Ribbon

, a disturbing black-and-white drama submitted by neighbouring Germany, presenting a sombre study of a troubled village during World War I.



Austrians — or those with links to the country — were generally irrelevant at the Oscars for decades. Haneke and Waltz are the biggest names, but in the last several years the Alpine nation of roughly 8.3 million has had a regular seat at the ceremony. In 2008, Stefan Ruzowitzky took home the foreign-language Oscar for The Counterfeiters, the tale of a master forger forced to work for Nazis in a concentration camp. Last year, Goetz Spielmann’s Revanche earned a nomination in the same category, although the movie went home empty-handed.



Martin Schweighofer, managing director of the Austrian Film Commission, sees the recent Oscar win and nominations as just several of a slew of confirmations that the country’s small film industry is becoming increasingly respected abroad. “In 2009, Austria got roughly 100 prizes — that’s an incredible number,” he said.