Oscar For Austria

Viennese director Stefan Ruzowitzky has won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, beating off favourite Andrzej Wajda. The win is Austria's first success at the Academy Awards.

"I hope very much this award will help Austrian filmmakers to make film in Austria stronger," he said, noting that it might put "more pressure on the politicians to support the film industry."

Ruzowitzky's film, The Counterfeiters, explores the story of a major forgery campaign that aimed to destabilise the British pound during World War II.

The Nazis used the skills of Jewish inmates at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp to forge mountains of pound notes. Huge quantities were lined up to be dropped on the British Isles.

The Counterfeiters is the first major Austrian film to deal with the Second World War. Mr Ruzowitzky, whose grandfather was a Nazi sympathizer, said that the movie had helped him to confront his nation's wartime past.

"There have been some great Austrian filmmakers working here," Ruzowitzky said as he accepted his award. "Thinking of Billy Wilder, Fred Zinnemann, Otto Preminger, most of them had to leave my country because of the Nazis, so it sort of makes sense that the first Austrian movie to win an Oscar is about the Nazis' crimes."


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