February 25, 2008 / 3:55 AM / 11 years ago

Austria's "Counterfeiters" wins foreign film Oscar

Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky, nominated for the Oscar best foreign film for "The Counterfeiters", arrives at the 80th annual Academy Awards, the Oscars, in Hollywood February 24, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Austrian Holocaust-era drama “The Counterfeiters” won the Oscar for best foreign language film on Sunday.

The film, directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, is the first win for Austria in this category and the second Academy Award nomination.

It beat out films from Israel, Kazakhstan, Poland and Russia in a year in which the Academy has come under heavy fire for excluding top films like Romania’s “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.”

“The Counterfeiters” shows the concentration camps from a different perspective. Based on real-life accounts, a master counterfeiter and other skilled prisoners are put to work by the Nazis to manufacture foreign bank notes.

The Germans want to use fake money to flood and bring down the U.S. and British economies, but the prisoner counterfeiters try to thwart the plot.

Reporting by Mary Milliken, editing by Peter Henderson

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