Actress Isabelle Adjani and six other French movie industry luminaries have stunned the nation's film buffs by choosing a Renoir biopic over a Cannes Film Festival favourite as next year's (14) Oscar contender for Best Foreign Language Film.

Gilles Bourdos' Renoir was picked over The Past, which took home an acting prize at Cannes - and Thierry Fremaux, the head of the film festival, was a member of the seven-member committee that made the selection.

The Past was considered a front-runner for France's Academy Awards entry after past Oscar-nominee Berenice Bejo claimed the Best Actress prize at Cannes.

Renoir features Michel Bouquet and Christa Theret as the celebrated painter and his final muse.

Due to the film release rules, Cannes' big winner Blue Is the Warmest Color is ineligible for Oscars consideration - it wasn't released in France before the Academy's 30 September (13) domestic release cut-off date.