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Academy Blasts Trump’s Travel Ban That Could Keep Iranian Filmmaker From Attending 2017 Oscars

Variety logo Variety 1/28/2017 Seth Kelley
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An Academy spokesperson issued a statement Saturday in response to reports that Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, who is nominated for an Oscar this year, would be barred from entering the country for the awards under President Donald Trump’s recently enacted travel ban.

“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 said. “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.”

Trump signed the executive order on Friday afternoon to suspend entry of refugees to the U.S. for 120 days, and imposed an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria. A 90-day ban was also placed on citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The 2017 Oscars will take place on Feb. 26.

“For the moment we don’t know anything yet. It’s total chaos. Some people are saying he [Farhadi] will be allowed to go, and some are saying he won’t,” said Iranian actor Babak Karimi, a cast member of “The Salesman,” in an email.

“We have to wait a few days to see how things develop,” added Karimi, who in the movie plays a theater troupe member named Babak and was part of its red carpet delegation in Cannes.

Asghar Farhadi did not respond to repeated requests for comment. He was expected to attend pre-Oscars events in Los Angeles this month. A rep for Cohen Media Group, which on Friday co-released “The Salesman” theatrically in the U.S. in tandem with Amazon Studios, also did not respond to a request for comment on the prospect that the director may be unable to enter the U.S.

Taraneh Alidoosti, the star of Farhadi’s film “The Salesman” spoke up on Twitter Thursday morning after Trump proposed the ban, to announce that she “won’t attend the #AcademyAwards 2017 in protest.”

Farhadi’s film “A Separation” won an Academy Award for best foreign film in 2012. “The Salesman” — the title a reference to Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” — tells the story of a young couple who play the lead roles in the play. It is nominated in the foreign film category.

Nick Vivarelli contributed to this report.

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