El Clasico features characters played by brothers Wrya and Dana Ahmed as they set off on an adventure to meet their hero, soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, in Madrid, Spain.

Director Halkawt Mustafa has yet to acquire distribution for his film in the U.S., but it was a big hit at the Dubai Film Festival and also won awards at the Norwegian International Film Festival and New York's Tribeca Film Festival - and it's an early favourite for a nomination.

If the film does get picked by the members of the Academy, it will become Iraq's first movie to make the Oscars shortlist since the country started submitting entries in 2005.

The nation has produced two near misses in the past decade - the acclaimed Son of Babylon and last year's (15) Memories on Stone.

Early favourites for next year's (16) Best Foreign Film prize also include Venezuela's From Afar, Germany's Toni Erdmann, Sweden's entry A Man Called Ove, and Death in Sarajevo from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The deadline for the foreign language category is 3 October (16) and Academy members will list the eligible films weeks later. Nine finalists will be announced at the beginning of January (17) and the five nominees will be revealed on 24 January (17), ahead of the Oscars on 26 February (17).