Today, Iran's foreign-language Oscar contender

Iran has returned to the foreign-language Academy Award race with the selection of Reza Mirkarimi’s “Today” (Emrooz) as its contender.

The picture is the story of a Tehran taxi driver who becomes the protector of a pregnant woman after he rushes her to hospital.

The announcement was made by committee spokesman Amir Esfandiari on Sunday, Iran’s official Fars News Agency reported.

The film, which recently played at the Toronto festival, stars Parviz Parastui, Soheila Golestani and Shabnam Moghadami.

Last year Iran selected Mirkarimi’s “A Cube of Sugar” as its hopeful for the foreign-language Oscar, but withdrew the film in protest against the film “The Innocence of Muslims,” which the Iranian government said denigrated the Prophet Mohammad. The previous year Iranian film “A Separation” by Asghar Farhadi won the prize.

Mirkarimi previously directed “Under the Moonlight,” which won the Critics’ Week Grand Prix at Cannes in 2001, “Here, a Shining Light” (2002), “So Close – So Far” (2005) and “As Simple as That” (2007).

The deadline for submitting foreign-language candidates is Oct. 1. The nominations will be announced Jan. 15 and the awards will be held Feb. 22.

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