Protest vote against Donald Trump’s travel ban suspected to be partly behind Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s surprise victory

American Cinematheque Panel Discussion With Golden Globe Nominated Foreign-Language Directors

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi has won the best foreign language Oscar in Los Angeles, for a second time, for domestic drama The Salesman. Farhadi, 44, did not attend the ceremony because he said that the conditions that would be attached to a potential entry visa were unacceptable.

The “Salesman” filmmaker sent two prominent Iranian Americans to the Academy Awards in his stead . Engineer Anousheh Ansari, the first Iranian in space, and former NASA director for solar system exploration Firouz Naderi accepted the foreign-language film Oscar on Farhadi’s behalf.

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Here is the complete statement from Farhadi read by Ansari.
It’s a great honor to be receiving this valuable award for the second time. I would like to thank the members of the academy, my crew in Iran, my producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy, Cohen Media, Amazon and my fellow nominees in the foreign-film category.

I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.

Dividing the world into the “us” and “our enemies” categories creates fears. A deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression.

Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others. An empathy which we need today more than ever. Thank you.

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