Iran’s ‘The Salesman’ wins Oscar as director boycotts
The Iranian drama “The Salesman” won the Oscar for best foreign-language film at the 89th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on Sunday amid a storm of condemnation of President Donald Trump by Hollywood figures.
Director Asghar Farhadi did not attend the gala in protest over Trump’s travel ban. Iranian-American engineer Anousheh Ansari, who was the first female space tourist, and Firouz Naderi, a former director of NASA’s Solar System Exploration program, represented Farhadi at the Oscar ceremony.
“My absence is out of respect for the people of my country, and those of the other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.,” Ansari read out a statement from Farhadi at the podium, the Guardian reported.
Following Trump’s executive order suspending travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Farhadi said that he would not attend the Oscar ceremony although he did not face a ban on entering the U.S.
In a statement published by media worldwide, Farhadi said, “I hereby express my condemnation of the unjust conditions forced upon some of my compatriots and the citizens of the other six countries who are trying to legally enter the United States of America, and hope that the current situation will not give rise to further divisions between nations.”
Prior to Farhadi’s decision not to attend the Oscar ceremony, “The Salesman” star Taraneh Alidoosti said that she would boycott the gala in protest of Trump’s travel ban.
In an email interview with the New York Times, which followed her announcement of boycotting the Oscar ceremony, Alidoosti said, “I’m sure the United States has also benefited many times from Iranian immigrants and people who have worked there and served that country.”
Farhadi’s decision to select Iranian-American senior scientific figures to represent him at the Oscars was a clever idea, since by this choice, he confirmed Alidoosti’s remarks. In addition, the decision reminded the U.S. government of the key roles immigrants are playing in the country.
“The Salesman” file
A Memento production, “The Salesman” is about Emad and Rana who move into a new flat in the center of Tehran. An incident linked to the previous tenant dramatically changes the young couple’s life.
The film brought Farhadi an award for best screenplay and Shahab Hosseini a Palme d’Or for best actor at the 69th Cannes Film Festival this year.
Farhdi’s “About Elly” represented Iranian cinema at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards in 2010, but it did not receive a nomination.
Two years later, his “A Separation”, a drama about a marital breakup, won Iran its one and only ever Oscar.