France’s Oscar selection committee has announced that the controversial film Cuties has been selected as one of five films the country will submit to the upcoming Academy Awards.

Related: Netflix Co-Ceo Defends ‘Cuties’: “It’s A Film That Is Very Misunderstood With Some Audiences, Uniquely Within The United States”

As reported by Deadline, Cuties is among five films the country has shortlisted for submission to the International Feature Film category at the upcoming 2021 Academy Awards.

Cuties is contending for the official submission spot against ‘Eté 85’ (Summer Of 85), a coming-of-age film centered on a blossoming romance between two young men, ‘8 Women’, a musical-murder-mystery, ‘AND’ (DNA), a tale about a woman discovering her Algerian heritage, ‘Deux’ (Two of Us), which follows a years-long love affair between two older women, and Gagarine, a story detailing one young boy’s astronaut-dream-inspired fight against the demolition of his town.

Related: The State Of Texas Indicts Netflix For ‘Cuties’ Film

Though Cuties is official described by Netflix as the story of how “Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew,” audiences took extreme issue with the apparent sexualization of the young girls in the film, particularly due to their joining of a dance group dedicated to the inherently sexual ‘twerking’ style, and exacerbated by the extremely questionable choice of poster the streaming service used to promote the film.

Related: Cuties Director Maïmouna Doucouré Defends The Netflix Film Describing It As “Feminist”

In defense of her work, director Maïmouna Doucouré asserted that Cuties was “a deeply feminist film with an activists message” and stated that the message of the film was a rallying cry “to fix what’s gone wrong so we can give the most beautiful space to our girls and boys to grow up safely and become the best version of the themselves.”

Related: Texas House Representative Matt Schaefer Calls for Investigation Into Netflix’s Cuties

In the face of Doucouré’s argument, a Grand Jury in Tyler County, Texas, recently indicted Netflix on charges of “promotion of lewd visual material depicting a child” for their distribution of the film.

However, Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos responded to this indictment by asserting that the outrage against Cuties was an issue “uniquely within the United States”, echoing a sentiment shared by the CEO of Bac Films, who produced Cuties, David Grumbach, who claimed that “the protests [against the film] are coming from the right wing — from a fringe of ultra conservatism.”

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