Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar for best foreign film at the 89th Oscar ceremony while the filmmaker had boycotted the event in protest to Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies and “out of respect for the people of [his] country and those of other six nations” affected by President Trump’s recent travel ban.
Keyhan daily, the conservative newspaper closely affiliated with Iran’s supreme leader wrote in an editorial piece that awarding of the Oscar to Farhadi’s the Salesman was so that Hollywood can keep putting up a show that it stands in opposition to mainstream politics in the United States.
Kayhan newspaper also accused the film of receiving fund from Emir of Qatar and saying that it is of no surprise that film was awarded the Oscars since it was made by Qatari petro-dollars.
The Salesman written and directed by Asghar Farhadi received some funding from the Doha Film Institute and Keyhan is taking this out of context to attack the film and the filmmaker.
Conservative activists and writers in the United States also took to twitter to critique Farhadi’s absentee speech at the award ceremony. They mostly stated that Farhadi has no right to lecture the United States government when Iranian government is practically a despotic system.
Seth Mandel of the New York Post for example wrote: “You guys know that it’s not hypocritical to be Iranian and pro-democracy, right?”
Another conservative writer Noah Pollak wrote on twitter: “So a guy from Iran just lectured America about human rights and democracy, to lusty applause from Hollywood.”
Officials and Mixed Feelings
In a Farsi post in its Twitter account, the US Department of State congratulated Farhadi, the cast and crew of ‘The Salesman’, and the Iranian people for winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film but later removed the tweet.
A state department spokeswoman said that the department later decided to remove the congratulatory tweet not to endorse the content of Farhadi’s absentee speech: “We later removed the post to avoid any misperception that the US government endorsed the comments made in the acceptance speech.”
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, congratulated Farhadi in a warm message on twitter.
Iran’s Culture and Guidance Minister has also congratulated Farhadi’s Oscar win describing the film as “Iran’s message of peace in the expressive language of art”.
He also commends the filmmaker for boycotting the ceremony as a “protest against the narrow minded and racist policies of America’s rookie politicians against immigrants” saying these policies has “unmasked the false claims of concern for human rights”.
The academy’s recognition of Farhadi’s the Salesman has drawn commendations from numerous Iranian cultural figures and groups including Iranian poet Javad Mojabi, Iran’s Director’s Guild, House of Cinema and Association of Cinematographers. Women’s Cultural Commission of Iranian parliament has also issued a statement congratulating Farhadi’s victory and stance for “human values.”
Debates and Disputes in the Persian Twitter Sphere
In Social Media the film’s success has triggered many debates. Some commentators say the Academy has made a statement against Trump by selecting Farhadi’s film. Other’s raised their brows at Farhadi’s savvy to continue making films under the restrictive hold of the Islamic Republic on arts and media.
Maryam Mirza, Iranian journalist focuses on Farhadi’s choice of an Iranian woman to read his message and writes: “The fact that women without hijab stand tall at the Oscars and read his message is Oscar worthy in itself.”
Bijan Safsari Iranian writer highlights the Iranian regime’s ability to exploit Farhadi’s success and says Farhadi should have used the platform to mention “the repression inside the country”.
Look at Earth from above and you Find no Borders
Two Iranian-American’s Firouz Naderi, a former NASA scientist and project manager for the Mars exploration and Anousheh Ansari, Iranian-American engineer and the first self-funded woman in the world to have gone into space accepted the award on his behalf.
Naderi commented on Farhadi choosing him and Ansari saying: “I think the reason that he chose the two of us … is if you go away from the Earth and look back at the Earth, you don’t see any of the borders or the lines, you just see the one whole beautiful Earth.”
Farhadi won his first Oscar for A Separation in 2011. The Salesman starring Taraneh Alidoosti and Shahab Hosseini as a couple whose relationship is challenged during their performance of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.