French feel-good juggernaut The Intouchables has been chosen to rep the country in the foreign-language Academy Awards race. Directed by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, the film about an unlikely friendship between a wealthy quadriplegic and a man from the other side of the tracks was released by Gaumont in France in November 2011 and ultimately sold nearly 20M tickets to become the third-highest grosser ever in the territory and second-biggest French film of all time. Outside France, it recently became the French-language film with the most global admissions ever. The Weinstein Company acquired Intouchables (and its English-language remake rights) and released it in the U.S. in May; its domestic cume is just under $12M.

Earlier this year, it was nominated for nine César Awards, France’s equivalent to the Oscar, but won only one for co-lead Omar Sy as Best Actor. François Cluzet also stars in the film, produced by BBDA Quad Productions. The seven-member committee that chose to put the film forth for a potential Oscar nod this year included Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Frémaux, director Sylvain Chomet and The Artist star Bérénice Béjo.