The world premiere of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper starring Bradley Cooper will screen on November 11 on the same day as the world premiere screening of Selma.

American Sniper and Selma are two of the few remaining unseen awards contenders this season and their addition to the programme represents another coup for a festival that is growing in prestige.

The world premiere of JC Chandor’s A Most Violent Year opened the festival last week.

“Clint Eastwood is an American icon,” said AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale. “His are stories that stand the test of time, and we are proud and honoured to unveil his latest masterpiece.”

American Sniper centres on the life of Chris Kyle, the Iraq War veteran regarded as one of the most devastatingly accurate shooters in US military history. Warner Bros will open the film on December 25.

Ava DuVernay directed the Civil Rights drama Selma starring David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr alongside Tom Wilkinson and Oprah Winfrey. Paramount will release in the US on December 25 and Pathe handles international sales.