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Oscar 2017 Predictions: Will 'Seneca's Day' Suprise and give Lithuania its First Oscar?

First Posted: Sep 22, 2016 03:00 AM EDT
Seneca's Day

Seneca's Day (Photo : Studija Uljana Kim)

Lithuania has picked "Seneca's Day" to represent the country at the Oscars. Directed by Kristijonas Vildzuinas, the film is set in Vilnius in 1989, the final year of Soviet rule. The film tells the story of teenage friends who resolve to "live each day as if it were your last" in a group they call Seneca's Fellowship.

The film marks the second time Kristijonas Vildzuinas represents the country. The first time was in 2011 for the film "Back to your Arms." However, that film was not nominated for the Oscar.

Lithuania began submitting films to the Academy in 2006 and has never been nominated. The country has submitted nine times and has also never made the January shortlist. Last year the country submitted "The Summer of Sangaile," a film that premiered at the Sundance where it won Best Director in the World Cinema Competition and at the Berlin Film Festival.

"Seneca's Day" has not premiered at any big film festival and is slated to open in Lithuania in the next month, The film is slated to compete for a nomination against "Toni Erdmann," "Julieta," "House of Others," "Sieranevada," "The Ardennes," "Chevalier" and "Mother." Other films that will also be strong competitors include "El Clasico," "From Afar" and "Neruda."

 The Academy is known for choosing some of the most critically acclaimed films out of the festival circuit and usually nominate films from Venice, Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca and Locarno Film Festivals. Most films that win the category have distribution deals lined up out festivals and have buzz from the beginning of awards season. The most recent Foreign language winners include  "Son of Saul," "Ida," "The Great Beauty," and "A Separation."

The Foreign Language Film deadline to submit is Oct. 3 and shortly after the Academy will announce the eligible films. 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.

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