How Iran may have just won a second Oscar

Al Monitor| Zahra Alipour: In a statement Jan. 29, Oscar-winning Iranian film director Asghar Farhadi announced that he will not be attending the Academy Awards ceremony later this month. The reason: US President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order to ban citizens of Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries. Farhadi’s announcement came as Iran was hosting its own Oscars, the 35th Fajr International Film Festival.

This year, the films screened at the Fajr Film Festival were greatly overshadowed by talk of Trump’s travel ban, Farhadi’s subsequent statement and speculation about what will become of “The Salesman,” which is nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

Iranian film critic Reza Sedigh told Al-Monitor, “We were at the venue of the festival at the Milad tower [in Tehran] when Farhadi’s statement was issued. There was clear support for Farhadi’s decision by news agencies and in the conversations within the cinema community. And if there was any criticism, it was about the [specifics of the] content of Farhadi’s statement.”

The statement, which was published in The New York Times, noted, “Despite the unjust circumstances which have risen for the immigrants and travelers of several countries to the United States, my decision had remained the same: to attend this ceremony. … However, it now seems that the possibility of this presence is being accompanied by ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even if exceptions were to be made for my trip.”

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