iranian oscar nominees sit out award ceremony in protest of trump’s entry ban

Asghar Farhadi, celebrated director of 'The Salesman,' released a statement condemning the human rights violation.

by Briony Wright and Isabelle Hellyer
30 January 2017, 12:52pm

still from 'the salesman'

When Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday afternoon suspending the entry of all refugees to the US for 120 days and ordering a 90 day ban on anyone from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, he sent a clear message of racial and religious distrust. Almost immediately, the ban threw the lives of thousands of innocent people into turmoil and angered Muslim communities around the world.

Asghar Farhadi is an Iranian director whose film The Salesman is nominated for Best Foreign Language movie. Despite the fact that exceptions may be made for him to enter the United States, the director has released a statement announcing that he will not be attending the award ceremony. Asghar clarified that while he was protesting the ban, he did not want to boycott the event as "many in the American film industry... are also opposed to the fanaticism and extremism that are today taking place."

In a statement to accompany his announcement, the director wrote:

"To humiliate one nation with the pretext of guarding the security of another is not a new phenomenon in history and has always laid the groundwork for the creation of future divide and enmity. I hereby express my condemnation of the unjust conditions forced upon some of my compatriots and the citizens of the other six countries trying to legally enter the United States of America and hope that the current situation will not give rise to further divide between nations."

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the body behind the Oscars, has also released a statement denouncing the ban, saying:

"The Academy celebrates achievement in the art of filmmaking, which seeks to transcend borders and speak to audiences around the world, regardless of national, ethnic, or religious differences. As supporters of filmmakers — and the human rights of all people — around the globe, we find it extremely troubling that Asghar Farhadi, the director of the Oscar-winning film from Iran A Separation, along with the cast and crew of this year's Oscar-nominated film The Salesman, could be barred from entering the country because of their religion or country of origin."

Asghar is not the only one to sit the ceremony out. Iranian actress and star of The Salesman, Taraneh Alidoosti, has also announced that she will not attend the awards in protest of Trump's ban. We suspect there may be more who will choose to do the same as the awards approach. 


Text Isabelle Hellyer

Asghar Farhadi
the salesman
taraneh alidoosti