An Oscar triumph tops an extraordinary year for Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, who has now won every major film prize for his portrayal of a sadistic Germany officer, but has vowed never to play such a role again.
Austria was jubilant at the news that the 53-year-old Waltz had won the Oscar for best supporting actor in Quentin Tarantino's bloody World War II fantasy "Inglourious Basterds".
A "triumph" trumpeted Die Presse, "Ueber Bingo" said Der Standard. Kurier noted that the Oscar "crowned an incredible year for Waltz", who has now won 18 prizes for playing the devilish Nazi officer Hans Landa, including a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award in the United States and a Bafta in Britain.
At home, politicians were similarly lavish in their praise, with President Heinz Fischer and Chancellor Werner Faymann both sending personal congratulations.
As Hollywood's new darling, Waltz has already lined up high-profile projects like Michel Gondry's "The Green Hornet" with Cameron Diaz, "Water for Elephants" with Reese Witherspoon and David Cronenberg's "The Talking Cure" in which he will play his countryman Sigmund Freud alongside Keira Knightley.
Waltz has built his career on playing bad guys, but one thing is for sure, he has said: "The role of a Nazi, I will never play again."
It is the second Oscar for an Austrian in two years after director Stefan Ruzowitzky won the best foreign film Oscar for "The Counterfeiters" in 2008.
"I'm happy, not only because we know each other a bit personally, but because he more than deserved it for his performance," said Ruzowitzky of Waltz.
"Oscar and Penelope, that's an uber bingo," Waltz said as he accepted his award from Penelope Crus at the Hollywood awards.
"I always wanted to discover some new continent and I thought I had to go this way and then I was introduced to Quentin Tarantino, who was putting together an expedition that was equipped by Harvey Weinstein and Lawrence Spender and David Linder and he put this script in front of me and he said, 'This is where we're going, but we're going the other way.'
"Quentin, with his unorthodox methods of navigation, this fearless explorer, took the ship across and brought it in with flying colors."
Waltz was a relative unknown, even in his own country, before "Inglourious Basterds".
Over a 30-year career, he has appeared in some 90 series and made-for-TV movies, specializing in psychopaths and bad guys.
It is thanks to these years of toil that he pulled off the part of the wickedly charming and equally sadistic Jew-hunter Landa, Waltz insists.
"It's a role that not only took me 30 years, it's one that most actors never get," he noted.
Tarantino said he would not have made the film without the no-nonsense and intellectual Waltz.
The son of a set builder and a costume designer, whose grandfather was also in theatre, Waltz says he went into acting "for sheer lack of fantasy," studying drama at the Max Reinhardt seminar in his hometown of Vienna and later at the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York.
The father of four, who now lives in Berlin and London made a brief foray into directing in 2000 with the TV movie "Wenn man sich traut" ("If you dare").Reuse content