There could be no better example of the ever-increasing globalization of the film biz than the number of translators working backstage at the Oscars.
“This is for Italy,” proclaimed Francesca Lo Schiavo, who shared the art direction trophy for “Hugo” with Dante Ferretti. The rest of her remarks flowed with lyric excitement in her native tongue.
Of course, “The Artist” winners kept the French language flying backstage. And Bret McKenzie, song winner for “Man or Muppet,” weighed in on the career benefits of growing up in laidback New Zealand “as opposed to America, where everyone is obsessed with their career.”
Terry George predicted that his win for live-action short “The Shore” (shared with his daugther, Oorlagh) would help boost tourism in Northern Ireland. Even Canadian-born Christopher Plummer let loose a bit of French in response to a reporter from Quebec.
But no win had more significance on a cultural level than Asghar Farhadi’s foreign-lingo triumph for Iranian entry “A Separation.” Given the tenuous state of relations between the U.S. and his home country, the helmer was pressed backstage on everything from nuclear policy to the state’s tight control of the media.
Farhadi didn’t overstate the case but let the win speak for itself in his remarks to the media: “People in Iran follow the Oscars more than you think,” he said through an interpreter. “I don’t think this (win) would have any specific message to the Iranian people other than (to reinforce) that cultural activities are the most important factors they need to stick to in their life.”
Director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy notched the first Oscar win for a Pakistani helmer, taking the prize for her docu short “Saving Face.”
“It reinforces the fact that you can be anyone, come from anywhere and if you put quality work out there it will be judged on just the work that you put out there,” she said. “It shows that, yes, the Academy does value good work put out across the world, not just in North America.”
(Rachel Abrams and David S. Cohen contributed to this report.)