ROME — Iran has pulled out of the Oscar foreign language race in protest against the U.S.-made anti-Islam video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad, which has caused mayhem in the region.
News of Iran’s Oscar boycott was reported by the semi-official ISNA news agency, which quoted culture minister Muhammad Hosseini as saying the decision was due to “an intolerable insult to the Prophet” and urging other Islamic countries to follow suit.
Iran won its first Oscar in the best foreign language film category last year with Asghar Farhadi’s “A Separation.”
The country’s committee in charge of selecting Iran’s Oscar candidate had already picked helmer-scribe Reza Mirkarimi’s dramedy “A Cube of Sugar” — about a family wedding that turns into a funeral when a member of the groom’s family dies — for Oscar consideration.
Pic preemed at the Montreal World Festival and played at South Korea’s Busan Film Festival last year.
But Hosseini told ISNA that it will not now be presented to the Academy.
Meanwhile, both Egypt and Lebanon have yet to submit their candidates for Oscar consideration.
But insiders say the reasons for this are probably not connected to political factors surrounding the Arab Spring. In the past Egypt has missed the deadline, which is Oct. 1 this year.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the five nominees for best foreign film on Jan. 10. The 85th Academy Awards ceremony takes place Feb. 24.