Asghar Farhadi Says He Has Decided Not to Attend the Oscars

Asghar Farhadi Forushande
Jim Smeal/BEI/REX Shutterstock

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose film “The Salesman” is nominated for the foreign-language-film Oscar, has issued a statement saying he will not attend the Oscars even if exceptions are made to allow him entry to the U.S.

“I regret to announce via this statement that I have decided to not attend the Academy Awards Ceremony alongside my fellow members of the cinematic community,” read his statement, which was first published in the New York Times.

While he had originally considered attending, “The possibility of this presence is being accompanied by ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even if exceptions were to be made for my trip,” the director said.

“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,” his statement, signed Asghar Farhadi, Iran, concluded.

In the initial portion of his statement Farhadi underlined that in the past few days “despite the unjust circumstances which have risen for the immigrants and travelers of several countries to the United States,” his “decision had remained the same: to attend this ceremony and to express my opinions about these circumstances in the press surrounding the event.”

Farhadi said he “neither had the intention to not attend nor did I want to boycott the event as a show of objection, for I know that many in the American film industry and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are opposed to the fanaticism and extremism which are today taking place more than ever.”

An Academy spokesperson issued a statement Saturday describing as “extremely troubling” the prospect that Farhadi, along with the cast and crew of  “The Salesman,” “could be barred from entering the country because of their religion or country of origin.”

“Just as I had stated to my distributor in the United States on the day the nominees were announced, that I would be attending this ceremony along with my cinematographer, I continued to believe that I would be present at this great cultural event,” Farhadi said.

“However, it now seems that the possibility of this presence is being accompanied by ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even if exceptions were to be made for my trip.”

“I would therefore like to convey via this statement what I would have expressed to the press were I to travel to the United States. Hard-liners, despite their nationalities, political arguments and wars, regard and understand the world in very much the same way. In order to understand the world, they have no choice but to regard it via an “us and them” mentality, which they use to create a fearful image of “them” and inflict fear in the people of their own countries,” he went on to explain.

“This is not just limited to the United States; in my country hardliners are the same. For years on both sides of the ocean, groups of hardliners have tried to present to their people unrealistic and fearful images of various nations and cultures in order to turn their differences into disagreements, their disagreements into enmities and their enmities into fears. Instilling fear in the people is an important tool used to justify extremist and fanatic behavior by narrow-minded individuals,” Farhadi added.

Related Content Academy Blasts Trump’s Travel Ban That Could Keep Iranian Filmmaker From Attending 2017 Oscars

Trump signed the executive order on Friday afternoon to suspend entry of refugees to the U.S. for 120 days, and imposed an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria. A 90-day ban was also placed on citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Taraneh Alidoosti, the star of Farhadi’s film “The Salesman” had previously spoken up on Twitter Thursday morning after Trump proposed the ban, to announce that she “won’t attend the #AcademyAwards 2017 in protest.”

Farhadi’s film “A Separation” won an Academy Award for best foreign film in 2012. “The Salesman” tells the story of a young couple who play the lead roles in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.”

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  1. JoMcG says:

    With all the run-away production, maybe it’s finally time to have the Oscars also move to Vancouver! Or better yet, why not host the event off-shore, in international waters aboard ship.

  2. Jimmy Rose says:

    Please!! Just wondering how many hungry people could be fed every year with the money spent on celebs honoring themselves. Maybe it’s time for these people to stop this nonsense that few, if any people care about.

    • Roy J says:

      Honoring these movies help their promotion. If Oscars gets the word out for movies like The Salesman, Moonlight, and Hidden Figures…we wouldn’t have to see BS comments like yours in this world.

  3. Rudy Mario says:

    Good.
    Alternate would have been deep vetting and a microchip implant.
    He could attend via skype and have an immerse experience. If he wins, UPS or FedEx could ship his trophy or one of the hollywood celebrities who want to leave the US could do the double honors.

  4. Marty says:

    Farhadi is a great filmmaker and very eloquent and intelligent, I’ve seen him talk at two different panels and he’s terrific. I agree with him on this, and admire his films. However – and not to sound like a jerk – I bet now people will vote for The Salesman to win Best Foreign Film as a “statement,” and that’s a shame, because Toni Erdmann is a vastly superior film and deserves to win.

    • Dom says:

      Well said. To have artistic integrity over personal political agendas. Good statement from Farhadi, but judge the films.

  5. Robert says:

    Good, glad this guy is staying home. I bet he will keep selling to Americans and taking our entertainment dollars though. Nobody cares about these actors and entertainers. They live in a bubble. See ya later!

    • Vincent says:

      You really don’t understand anything do you Robert. I guess you were born in the wrong time and country. I’m guessing Germany 1939 would be a better suit for you. Go stick it!!!!!!

      • whambo says:

        Well Jeremy V, you obviously don’t know what Godwin’s Law is. I suggest you look it up instead of engaging in hysterics and looking ridiculous. You hate Trump. We get it. yawn…

      • Jeremy V says:

        Well said Vincent.

        By the way Whambo, this is a literal comparison to Nazi behaviour as appossed to a lack of argument ‘Godwin’s Law’ comparison. You really should understand what it is you are talking about before writing anything.

      • whambo says:

        Well Vincent, when all else fails, snipe back with Godwin’s Law. That’s all you have left.

  6. Bannon says:

    Watching how the US becomes another Venezuela, hosted by Donald Chavez… Pure primetime gold!

  7. Bazarov says:

    Farhadi’s movie is titled THE Salesman, not A Salesman.

  8. Contessa46 says:

    I admire his I integrity.

  9. Frederick resident says:

    Gee, the event will be ruined by his absence.

  10. Countries Banned by Trump which have which have killed 0 U.S. Citizens.
    between 1975 – 2015.

    Iran
    Iraq
    Libya
    Somalia
    Sudan
    Syria

    Those countries which house Trump business interest excluded from the ban and the number of U.S. Citizens killed by terrorists sponsored in their countries..

    Saudi Arabia – 2,369
    United Arab Emirates – 314
    Egypt – 162
    Lebanon – 159.

    That is all.

  11. L. Assie says:

    This stunt could actually be the best move he could have done to get him the win. Oscar voters would love to be able to give Trump the middle finger by giving it to him.

  12. rodittis says:

    Can’t say I blame him.

  13. Nanny Mo says:

    So after all that, he’s not even going to ask the State Department for an exception? I hope he doesn’t win, but then again the F’oscars don’t mean all that much anymore since they are racially and politically motivated now.

    • Ken S. says:

      F you, Nanny Mo.

    • jimmy says:

      You are correct. When a quota is imposed so that race matters more than quality there really is no reason to honor artistic endeavors.

      • Dom says:

        It’s obvious Asghar would be given an exception, so I respect he didn’t over do the indignity and outrage. His response is fair and eloquent.
        However the blindly hate-Trump brigade, also behind the quota-Oscars, are unlikely to follow his lead or respect his nuanced position.

      • hgarod says:

        We seem to be in the minority, so to speak.

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