Iranian Director’s Oscar Win Celebrates ‘The People Of My Country’ And Addresses Muslim Ban

Asghar Farhadi was determined to have his voice heard.

Asghar Farhadi didn't attend the Oscars in Los Angeles on Sunday as promised, but his voice was heard loud and clear.

The Iranian director, who boycotted this year's Academy Awards in response to the White House's "Muslim ban," will take home the award for Best Foreign Language Film for The Salesman. To accept the award on his behalf was none other than the first Iranian in space and the first self-funded woman to fly to the International Space Station, Iranian-American engineer Anousheh Ansari.

Holding Farhadi's letter in her hand, Ansari read his candid statement: "My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of the other six nations, whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans the entry of immigrants to the U.S.

"Dividing the world into an us-and-them category creates fear. A deceitful justification for aggression and war," he added. "These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which themselves have been victims of aggression."

The star-studded audience erupted in applause.

In addition to Ansari, Farhadi invited another prominent Iranian-American to attend the awards in his absence. Firouz Naderi is a former NASA director for solar system exploration, who reportedly attended but did not appear on stage with Ansari to accept the award.

The Salesman follows the story of a young couple, Emad and Rana, who are faced with drama in their new home after being forced to leave their last one.

The Los Angeles Times' Glenn Whipp described the film as having "a dual purpose — rewarding excellence and showing solidarity with immigrants."

Farhadi did take the stage at the 2011 Academy Awards when he won Best Foreign Language Film for A Separation. His speech that night was hailed as one of the best.

"I proudly offer this award to the people of my country," he said, speaking to the people of Iran. "a people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment."  

Cover image: Jaguar PS /


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.