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Austrians shocked to discover Oscar-winner Waltz is German

AFP · 12 Aug 2010, 19:46

Published: 12 Aug 2010 19:46 GMT+02:00

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"Revealed: Waltz is not Austrian," the daily Österreich screamed on its front page.

Born in Vienna, where he also went to school and studied drama, Waltz nevertheless holds a German passport like his father, although his mother is Austrian, the newspaper reported.

"Does the Oscar for Vienna's golden boy count for Austria or Germany?" the daily Die Presse agonised after the revelations emerged.

A relative unknown outside Germany and Austria, Waltz became an international star almost overnight following his brilliant turn as Nazi officer Hans Landa in Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds," which earned him every major film award from the Screen Actors Guild award to the Golden Globe, and the Oscar.

Lauded at home, where he was even received in March by Chancellor Werner Faymann, Waltz never breathed a word about his actual nationality.

Story continues below…

But history might soon be corrected, said Österreich: Waltz, who lives in Berlin and London, was apparently taking steps to receive Austrian citizenship. And this might happen before the end of the month, it added.

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Your comments about this article

21:04 August 12, 2010 by wxman
Alright, I'll start - - So what??
21:20 August 12, 2010 by JAMessersmith
He totally made that movie. Without him, Basterds would've come off looking cheap.
21:26 August 12, 2010 by BR549
Why focus on his "nationality" instead of his ability?? Jeezus, why can't people just be people instead of being branded by the country of origin? He is a GREAT actor, leave it at that.
22:17 August 12, 2010 by moreanon
No such word as 'horrorified'.
23:10 August 12, 2010 by pepsionice
Here's the thing about Waltz....he's done a number of German movies....especially made-for-TV movies....and I realized he had real talent over seven years ago.
00:37 August 13, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Germany should be proud. Christoph Waltz is one of the best actors on the planet.
01:54 August 13, 2010 by proclusian
Seems to me he is German-Austrian (via German father, Austrian mother). Which passport he holds is irrelevant. If it were the Olympics, he could choose which team to play for. Looks like now, as it is, he is going to choose Austria.
07:29 August 13, 2010 by auniquecorn
Austrians shocked to discover Oscar-winner Waltz is German

07:37 August 13, 2010 by MonkeyMania
Ah well! On the other hand, hitler was Austrian. :-)
08:05 August 13, 2010 by wenddiver
@monkeymania-Yes, but his passports was probably German too.
08:14 August 13, 2010 by JAMessersmith

Yes there is... in English. But then again, there are also words like 'codswallop' and 'bumfuzzle' in English, so it's all relative.
08:35 August 13, 2010 by HarryR
just to stir things up - when he needed a pssword and had to make a choice he chose to apply for a German one.

Possibly this was because at the time Austria wasn't in the EEC and so wouldn't allow ease of travel and work that a German passport would?
09:25 August 13, 2010 by moistvelvet
This is a typical reaction of German nationalism, eager to grab and highlight anything successful of German origin on the world stage. Ironic though that in this case it had to be an actor playing the part of a Nazi, a subject I thought Germany was keen for people to forget, but the temptation to boast was too great I guess. So what does the world see, a German actor wins an Oscar for playing a Nazi, rather than a very good actor winning an Oscar for being a very good actor, nationality has nothing to do with it!
09:43 August 13, 2010 by martell
"The guy was born in Austria and attended school there. He's Austrian."

Dead wrong.

There are quite some countries in Europe and elsewhere where your citizenship depends on your ancestry and not on the location where you have been born. Hitler was born an Austrian citizen by ancestry (and born on Austrian territory as well), so he had to apply for German citizenship as he wanted to become a German citizen. German citizenship finally was granted to him. The countries of the world each have the right to decide who is their citizen and who isn't. As long as Waltz has not been granted Austrian citizenship, he still is a German citizen. Live with it.
10:36 August 13, 2010 by RP_Lifer
@ BR549 ... Nationalism is good! For me I like the differences in people and places, this blended globalization attempt is horrible and will make the world boring and bland.

I will say though, The first 15 minutes of the Basterds movie was some of the best cinema I have seen in years and its all reflected in Mr. Waltz amazing talent, bravo!
10:36 August 13, 2010 by authun

... and German TV is definitely NOT the stage to put it on display (i.e. acting talent)
16:29 August 13, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
I am familiar with this stupidity, having a German father and an Austrian mother. I feel equally at home in both places.

And truth be told, with my unique perspective in the middle of the loop, aside from a few minor cultural issues that are no different than between different regions of Germany, I really consider them to be the same. The distinction between Germany and Austria was created as a political one by a pack of annoying monarchs that clung to their respective empires, and now it's just one of animosity. German-speaking Austria has never been much different from the lands inside the political borders of Germany.
17:48 August 13, 2010 by theMaggiSauce
well maybe he could keep both nationalities.. exceptions should be done.
19:57 August 13, 2010 by angliscan
This whole situation is a tempest in a teacup.

From a global perspective, there isn't really much difference between a German and an Austrian, a Canadian and an American, a Uruguayan and an Argentine. They're merely variations on the same theme.
20:04 August 13, 2010 by wxman
This discussion is rather moot in that the rest of the world doesn't distinguish between Austrian and German. In their view, they're all Germans.
15:06 August 14, 2010 by Yontrop
@ angliscan and wxman, The point isn't what the rest of the world thinks. I suspect Canadians and Uruguayans don't like it when anyone thinks they are just like their neighbors either. Any Scots out there who like coming from "England"?
23:17 August 16, 2010 by Jonathan Fox
@Yontrop The Scots would be the exception in that analogy because they are of Celtic origin and the English are Germanic. Then again if you go back far enough the Celts originated from the Halstatt region of Austria so perhaps we are all Austro-German originally :) except for the Uruguayans that is :)
13:47 August 18, 2010 by NYsteve
I finally saw this movie.....and can totally see why Christoph Waltz won his Oscar....well played, well done...a great job!! This is the first time I have Mr. Waltz in a movie....I hope to see more of him!
17:25 August 18, 2010 by sporkk
Canadians are definitely not like Americans, unless your view is based on sharing portions of the same Continent. Please do not generalize.

Mr. Waltz made that movie.

Cheers from Canada.
11:32 August 22, 2010 by Karlo
Waltz is Austrian because that is how he defines his identity, in exactly the same way that Obama defines himself as black. Personal ethnic identity is a complex issue, but the most important aspect of it is how the individual sees himself or herself.,
15:14 December 26, 2012 by DerAmerkian85
In the words of Bassil Fawlty: You people have no sense of humor! lol sorry I'm a 'Yankee" had to do it.
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