The film "Mustang" by Franco-Turkish director Deniz Gamze Erguven was officially selected by France's national centre for cinema on Tuesday to compete for best foreign language film at the 2016 Oscars.
Centred around the story of five adolescent sisters who are sequestered by their family when they are deemed too rebellious, the film was screened at the Director's Fortnight at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and has received international critical acclaim.
"We're more than happy! It's a choice both extremely strong, radical and modern that takes into account a new generation of filmmakers," the 37-year-old Erguven told AFP.
"The fact that France selected this film for the Oscar's race is a strong symbol of the defence of free speech," she said.
Throwing its own hat into the ring, Russia nominated on Tuesday Nikita Mikhalkov's "Sunstroke" for the Oscars race.
The narrative revolves around a love story set in early 20th-century Russia, and is based on a short story by Ivan Bunin.
It is the fifth time that one of Mikhalkov's films has been nominated, and the director and Kremlin supporter told Russian television Tuesday that he "has no chance" of winning the coveted golden statue.
"But I can express great satisfaction that my colleagues in the Academy are now obliged to see my film," the 69-year-old director said.