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Oscar 2017 Predictions: 'El Clasico' to represent Iraq at the Academy Awards

First Posted: Sep 05, 2016 10:58 AM EDT
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“El Clasico” has been selected to represent Iraq at the Academy Awards. The film by Halkawt Mustafa, premiered at the Dubai Film Festival and also won awards at the Norwegian International Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival.


The movie tells the story of two Kurdish little men in Iraq who risk their lives to fulfill their dreams; to meet football hero Cristiano Ronaldo. The film has yet to acquire U.S distribution but its feel good story is one that should definitely resonate with the Academy.


Iraq has not had a long history with the Academy as it only began to submit in 2005 and has never been nominated or made the January shortlist. Among the films submitted were “Son of Babylon” which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to screen at the Berlin Film Festival. Last year the country submitted the critically acclaimed film “Memories on Stone,” which premiered at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival to great reviews.


The Foreign Language category is among the most unpredictable at the Academy and this year is gearing up to be one of the most\. “El Clasico” could be the first film nominated for Iraq but first it must compete against international hits like Venezuela’s Golden Lion winner “From Afar,” Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Silver Bear winner “Death in Sarajevo” and Germany’s critical darling “Toni Erdmann”. Other films that it will be tough competition include Romania’s Cannes selection “Sieranevada” and Sweden’s international hit “A Man Called Ove.”


The deadline for the foreign language category is Oct. 3 with the Academy announcing a list of eligible films later that month. On Jan. 17 the Academy will announce the nine finalists from among the eligible films and on Jan. 24 nominations will be announced. The winner will be announced at the Oscar ceremony on Feb. 26, 2017.

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