Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi made Oscar history in 2012 when his film, “A Separation,” became the first Iranian movie to with the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Now, the director is nominated in the category once again for his critically acclaimed drama “The Salesman,” but according to reports, Farhadi won’t be able to celebrate the honor and attend the ceremony in February due to President Donald Trump’s new Muslim ban.
The newly-inaugurated President signed an executive order, “Protecting the Nation From Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals,” which bans all refugees from entering the US and for 90 days, visas will not be issued to those from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The order means that Farhadi, along with many others, won’t be able to support his film at the Academy Awards and if he wins, wouldn’t be able to accept it onstage, an absence that would definitely be noticed.
This past week Taraneh Alidoosti, Iranian star of the “The Salesman,” tweeted in protest of the new policy, writing that “Trump’s visa ban for Iranians is racist” and that she would not be attending the Oscars.
Iraq filmmaker Hussein Hassan also withdrew his US visa application for clearance to attend the North American premiere of his film “The Dark Wind” at the Miami Film Festival.
“This is just a deeply upsetting turn of events,” festival director Jaie Laplante told IndieWire in an interview. “We got an email from his producer on Tuesday saying there were all these unusual delays. He has applied for visas in the past at the U.S. consulate and received an answer in two days.”
Mehmet Aktas, the producer of the film, also added: “Now it seems to be impossible for a Kurdish artist to visit the US to present his work. As an act of peaceful protest, Hussein Hassan decided to withdraw from his visa application. We as Kurdish filmmakers hope that Donald Trump will acknowledge the Kurdish people.”
IndieWire has reached out for comment to Farhadi’s reps.
UPDATE: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has issued the following statement, via a spokesperson:
“The Academy celebrates achievement in the art of filmmaking, which seeks to transcend borders and speak to audiences around the world, regardless of national, ethnic, or religious differences. As supporters of filmmakers—and the human rights of all people—around the globe, we find it extremely troubling that Asghar Farhadi, the director of the Oscar-winning film from Iran A Separation, along with the cast and crew of this year’s Oscar-nominated film The Salesman, could be barred from entering the country because of their religion or country of origin.”