After taking the Best Actress prize for Diane Kruger in Cannes last May, Fatih Akin’s In The Fade scooped the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film tonight. This is the German director’s first win and beat out other Cannes favorites The Square and Loveless as well as Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father and Sebastian Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman from Chile. Along with each of those (save Jolie’s film) the movie is shortlisted for a Foreign Language Oscar.

In her first German-language role, Kruger plays a woman whose life collapses after the death of her husband and son in a bomb attack. The police arrest two suspects, a young neo-Nazi couple, but Katja wants justice.

Kruger was on stage with Akin tonight, quickly getting in a thank you to the HFPA “for elevating this movie, even though it’s foreign language.”

A stunned Akin said, “How did that happen?” The film has sold just 100,000 tickets in Germany, he noted. He also thanked the usual round of collaborators as well as U.S. distributor Magnolia Pictures and German partner Warner Bros, following that up with a quip that fell flat, “If you see a cop, warn-a-brother” (see video above).

He gave a shout-out to Thierry Frémaux, the Cannes Film Festival chief who was in the audience tonight. “You opened the door.” And then turning to Kruger said, “This is yours, this is ours.”

While the story is contemporary and timely, Akin first wrote a draft of it in 1992. “Can you imagine?” he said to me the last time we spoke. “As a teenager back then, I could have been a target just because of the way I look, because my parents are Turkish. That really bothered me.” Sadly, he says today, “Nothing has changed since then. It seems that many of us haven’t done the homework or reflection since then.”

Akin repped Germany as the Oscar submission 10 years ago, but did not advance to the shortlist. He calls it a “bit like a computer game to reach different levels.” With the Globe he’s potentially advanced another level, although the Globes and the Oscars don’t always match up. Since 2010, they’ve been in line five times with: 2015’s Son Of Saul, 2013’s The Great Beauty, 2012’s Amour, 2011’s A Separation and 2010’s In A Better World.