Patrick Vollrath's film Alles wird gut (Everything will be OK) came third in the Student Oscars awarded in September 2015.
The short follows a divorced father who collects his eight-year-old daughter as usual but ends up taking her on a fateful journey.
But now it's been nominated alongside some of 2015's biggest hit films including Mad Max and The Martian for the real Oscar contest.
"We all hope that this will be a big boost to his career, it will be a great calling-card for him in the industry," Katja Jäger of the Vienna Film Academy told The Local.
It's the crowning glory for a film that has already won a slew of awards across Europe.
A still from the movie "Alles wird gut" (Everything will be OK) by German film-maker Patrick Vollrath.
Born in central Germany, Vollrath trained in Munich as a video editor in the mid-2000s before entering the Vienna Academy in 2008.
'Alles wird gut' was originally produced as the final project to complete his studies – but has taken Vollrath far, far further.
"We're extremely happy. After winning the first Student Academy Award in the history of the Film Academy in September, now this is a great distinction for both the film-maker and for us," Jäger said.
It's the first time a student at the Vienna Film Academy has been nominated – although the school isn't without a history at the Academy Awards.
Jäger studied in the class of renowned Austrian director Michael Haneke, who himself won an Oscar for Amour in 2012 and has two Palme d'Or awards from the Cannes film festival to his name.