The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences responded to unconfirmed reports that Iranian Oscar nominee Asghar Farhadi is now barred from entering the U.S. due to President Donald Trump’s immigration ban.
Trump recently signed an executive order that effectively puts a stop on immigrants and visa holders attempting to enter the U.S. from seven “majority-Muslim countries,” which includes Iran.
“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,” the statement, obtained by EW, reads. “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.”
The 89th Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center on Feb. 6, when Farhadi’s The Salesman will be recognized in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Author Trita Parsi, who’s president of the National Iranian American Council, tweeted that Farhadi was now unable to enter the country to attend over Trump’s actions.
This was followed by a statement from the Tribeca Film Festival, calling the executive order “heartbreaking and unacceptable.” However, reps for Farhadi, The Salesman, and the film’s distributor did not immediately respond to EW’s requests for comment.
According to a tweet from BBC Persia correspondent Hadi Nili, “Farhadi’s office says no ‘legal obstacle’ for him to visit US but soon he will decide if he wants to attend Oscar’s ceremony.”
Farhadi previously won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012 for A Separation.
“At this time many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy,” he said during his acceptance speech. “They are happy not just because of an important award or a film or a filmmaker, but because at the time when talk of war, intimidation, and aggression is exchanged between politicians, the name of their country, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture, that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics. I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment.”
Farhadi’s The Salesman actress, Taraneh Alidoosti, recently said she will boycott the Oscars in protest of Trump’s policy. “Trump’s visa ban for Iranians is racist. Whether this will include a cultural event or not,I won’t attend the [Academy Awards] in protest,” she wrote on Twitter.
Hussein Hassan, a filmmaker from Kurdistan, Iraq, made a similar move by withdrawing his visa application to attend the Miami Film Festival — his film, Reseba (a.k.a. The Dark Wind), is scheduled for a U.S. premiere there in March.
“When we place humanity at the top of the pyramid, at the pinnacle, then black or white, Iranian or American, everybody resembles one another. They are all human,” Farhadi said during an interview with Vox in November. “But if the places are switched, the first division that will occur will be, for instance, Muslim/non-Muslim. When politics dominates humanity, then it becomes Americans versus non-Americans or immigrants.”