Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman” is considered by many to be the frontrunner for the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film, but the writer/director won’t be attending tonight’s ceremony. Farhadi — who previously won the prize for “A Separation” — has chosen to boycott the Oscars due to Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, which has since suffered several defeats in court. Going in the filmmaker’s stead are two Iranian-Americans: Anousheh Ansari and Firouz Naderi.
Ansari, who moved to the United States in 1984, is a space tourist with the distinction of being the first Iranian in space, the first Muslim in space and the first self-funded female explorer to make her way to the International Space Station; Naderi worked at NASA for more than three decades, including stints as director of Solar System Exploration and overseer of the Mars Exploration Program.
“I believe that the similarities among the human beings on this earth and its various lands, and among its cultures and its faiths, far outweigh their differences,” wrote Farhadi in a statement announcing his plan not to attend the Academy Awards. “I believe that the root cause of many of the hostilities among nations in the world today must be searched for in their reciprocal humiliation carried out in its past and no doubt the current humiliation of other nations are the seeds of tomorrow’s hostilities. 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.”