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​The Oscar Award for “The Salesman”

March 25, 2017 by  

Shahrokh Akhami

On February 26, 2017, the movie “ The Salesman,” directed by Asghar Farhadi, won the Oscar for best foreign film! This was his second win, having won the Oscar for best foreign film in 2012 for his movie “The Separation”. In total he has had three nominations. This number places him with other foreign film winners of two Oscars, Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, and Vittorio DeSica. Winning countries with two Oscars for foreign films include Iran, Germany, Hungary, Argentina, Austria, Switzerland and Czech Republic.
The most interesting part of Mr. Farhardi’s win was the fact that he and his star Taraneh Alidoost boycotted the awards in protest of President Trump’s executive order that temporarily banned immigration from Iran and six other countries. He accepted the award through the surrogate of Anousheh Ansari (an accomplished and successful Iranian immigrant and the only Iranian woman to travel to space). Accompanying her was Firouz Naderi, also a very successful Iranian immigrant who recently retired from NASA and worked on the Mars project.
In response to Mr. Farhadi’s action the foreign minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif set out a Tweet. He stated that he was proud of the actors and the director of the movie “The Salesman” for standing up to Americas order banning Muslims to enter the United States. He also stated that he was proud that Iran represented culture and civilization for millennia.
Seeing Ms. Ansari and Mr. Naderi on stage, replacing the winner himself, Mr. Farhadi raised a question. I wondered how he and the others, who boycotted the Oscars in protest, would respond to the following question.
Are there any countries in the free world for example Germany, France and England or for that matter any country in the world, that would allow a foreign movie director, individually or through a surrogate, to appear on world television, in front of the entire world (245 countries), protesting against a President’s order, get an applause and NOT FEAR REPERCUSION BY THE GOVERNMENT? Could a citizen of Iran, a guest or immigrant to that country be allowed to do this and freely walk away?
The foreign minister of Iran is certainly taking advantage of Mr. Farhadi’s action. He boasts of Iran’s 2000 years of civilization and culture and then admires the resistance of Muslim’s ability to enter the United States. Could someone please ask Mr. Zarif why the creative geniuses of Iran, within Iran, such as Jafar Panahi have no work permit to continue to create?
I am proud of Mr. Farhardi’s achievements and the achievements of other Iranians. But prouder am I of the American people whose government has given them the beautiful treasure and gift of liberty and freedom. It is something the remainder of the world desires. They dream of coming to the United States in the hopes of having a better life, to be able to say what they think and believe and do so without fear of execution or jail.

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