Nominations: Best Foreign Language Feature, Best CinematographyWins/Snubs: It won the Golden Globe the same year, and lots and lots of other awards, but the Oscar went to The Secret in their Eyes (El Secreto de sus Ojos). Cinematography went to Avatar, which I can't disagree with.
The original German title of this film translates to A German Children's Story. I sense that it was changed because that title gives the film even creepier undertones than it already has. The movie takes place in a small German village before WWI. It's narrated by the town's school teacher, who wants to marry the Baron's nanny, before she gets fired. But a series of strange events begin - the doctor's horse trips over a booby-trapped wire and he's thrown and injured, the wife of a tenant farmer falls through a second story hay loft and dies, the baron's son is kidnapped and tortured, but survives, and a handicapped boy is kidnapped and beaten. They don't spend much time explaining what might have happened, but in "investigating" these issues the town discovers that many residents are creepy, abusing, evil, and more than a little bit judgmental. Ultimately, it leads people to suspect a lot of the children of the village of rising up against the adults that oppress them, abuse them, and basically try to "teach" them to be perfect. The White Ribbon refers to the ribbon the pastor puts on his children's arms to remind them to be pure.
Overall, I didn't like the film, but it's certainly food for a lot of thought about what the story was trying to tell us, and what it was an allegory for. It does show a lot of the unrest in Germany between peasants and landed gentry, but that's about all I got from it other than some people have secrets so bad you don't want to know them. Now I need to see The Secret in their Eyes to compare.