Foreign language film Oscar nominees denounce 'climate of fanaticism'

PHOTO: Iranian director Asghar Farhadi poses for his film "the Salesman" during the premier in Paris, Oct. 10, 2016. Michel Euler/AP Photo
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi poses for his film "the Salesman" during the premier in Paris, Oct. 10, 2016.

The five directors nominated for the best foreign language film Oscar this year released a group statement Friday denouncing “the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the US and some many other countries."

Though they did not mention any leader by name, the directors expressed their "unanimous and emphatic disapproval" of "leading politicians" whom they believe influence those attitudes.

The filmmakers, who hail from Denmark, Sweden, Iran, Australia and Germany, stated that they "refuse to think in terms of borders" and as a result, dedicated the award, regardless of who wins it, to "all the people, artists, journalists and activists who are working to foster unity and understanding, and who uphold freedom of expression and human dignity."

The Oscar will be presented at the Academy Awards on Sunday night.

"The fear generated by dividing us into genders, colors, religions and sexualities as a means to justify violence destroys the things that we depend on – not only as artists but as humans: the diversity of cultures, the chance to be enriched by something seemingly 'foreign' and the belief that human encounters can change us for the better," they stated. "These divisive walls prevent people from experiencing something simple but fundamental: from discovering that we are all not so different."

Last month, in the wake of President Donald Trump's executive order that banned most travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who was nominated in the category for his film "The Salesman," told the New York Times that he would not be attending the awards show.

Though the one-time Oscar winner said that he had originally planned to travel to Hollywood for the ceremony, "the possibility of this presence is being accompanied by ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even exceptions were to be made for my trip."

"Hard-liners, despite their nationalities, political arguments and wars, regard and understand the world in very much the same way," Farhadi said. "In order to understand the world, they have no choice but to regard it via an 'us and them' mentality, which they use to create a fearful image of 'them' and inflict fear in the people of their own countries."

Earlier this month, a federal court judge in Washington state halted the order. After Trump appealed, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco handed down a unanimous decision to uphold the restraining order.

Prior to those rulings, a spokesperson for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released a statement in support of Farhadi.

"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 read. "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."