Wednesday, September 28, 2016 | Updated at 1:10 PM ET

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Oscar 2017 Predictions: 'Little Secret' will represent Brazil after Controversy with Award winning film 'Aquarius'

First Posted: Sep 13, 2016 06:00 PM EDT
Little Secret

Little Secret(Photo : Diamond Films )

David Schurmann's three-part drama "Little Secret" has been selected to represent Brazil at the 89th Academy Awards. The film was selected after a number of filmmakers withdrew their films due to the appointment of film critic Marcus Petrucelli to Brazil's foreign Oscar selection committee.

Petrucelli's appointment stirred controversy because the film critic made remarks denouncing the team of "Aquarius'" for protesting against Brazil's then interim government under Michel Temer at the Cannes Film Festival. The team of "Aquarius staged a protest on the red carpet at Cannes and stated "Brazil is experiencing a coup d'etat" and "54,501,118 votes set on fire!"

"Aquarius " was always seen as the film that would be selected because it received so much international acclaim and has a commanding performance from Sonia Braga. However, with Petrucelli in charge of the selecting committee many filmmakers believed there was a conflict of interest between the Petrucelli and "Aquarius" filmmaker Kleber Mendonça Filho.

"Little Secret" tells three interlocked stories that are all connected by a single secret that converge to reveal the tragic yet beautiful lives of three families. The film is slated to open in November in Brazil.

Brazil is among the most nominated countries from Latin America as it has been nominated four times and has submitted 44 times. The last nomination for the country came in 1998 for the film "Central Station." The film, by Walter Salles, also scored a Best Actress nomination and also scored nominations at the Golden Globe and BAFTA awards.

Since then Brazil has only made the shortlist once and that was in 2007 for the film "The Year My Parents Went on Vacation." That film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival to rave reviews and went on to win awards at many international film festivals.

Last year Brazil submitted the award winning Sundance selection "The Second Mother," which was a box office and festival hit.

While "Little Secret" will represent Brazil, "Aquarius" could still have an Oscar life since the movie will be released in October stateside. Therefore, Braga's performance will qualify for the Academy Awards.

Brazil will have tough competition from Latin American countries this year as Colombia selected Cannes selection "Alias Maria" while Venezuela submitted Golden Lion winner "From Afar." Meanwhile Cuba picked "The Companion" while the Dominican Republic selected "Flor de Azucar."

In recent years the Academy has awarded "Son of Saul," "Ida," "The Great Beauty," and "A Separation" the best foreign language film of the year.

The deadline to submit for the foreign language category is Oct. 3. 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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