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"White Ribbon" to represent Germany for Oscars

By Scott Roxborough

BERLIN (Hollywood Reporter) - Michael Haneke's Cannes Palme d'Or winner, "The White Ribbon," will be Germany's official candidate for the 2010 foreign-language film Oscar.

A small-town tale of morality, depravity and the rise of fascism set on the eve of World War I and shot in stark black-and-white, "The White Ribbon" marks Haneke's return to his native German after a decade of success in French.

If nominated, it will be a first for the Austrian director, who enjoys auteur star status in Europe but has yet to break through in the U.S. Sony Classics is releasing "The White Ribbon" stateside, with a February 2010 bow planned, following the obligatory pre-Christmas Oscar qualification run.

A nomination would also be a first for German producer X Filme Creative Pool, which despite being the driving force behind films such as "Run, Lola, Run" (1998) and "Goodbye, Lenin!" (2003), has yet to receive an Oscar nomination for one of its in-house titles.

"The White Ribbon" was set up as a four-territory co-production with France's Films du Losange, Austria's Wega Film and Lucky Red of Italy. This pan-European approach is typical for Haneke, but it has proved a liability in past Oscar campaigns. The director's well-received Cannes Jury Prize winner "Cache" (2005) was rejected by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences because the film, submitted by Austria, was in French rather than German. The Academy has since changed its rules to accommodate more polyglot productions.

The Academy will announce the 2010 best foreign-language film nominees February 2. The 82nd Academy Awards will take place March 7.

(Editing by SheriLinden at Reuters)

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