Thursday, January 26, 2017

"The Salesman" Star to Protest the Oscars

Taraneh Alidoosti in The Salesman
As many would expect, this year's Oscars are very political. Not only was there a need to overcome last year's Oscars So White controversy, but many in the industry are personally opposed to the election of America's president. While many such as Meryl Streep have already made their opinion known, it is interesting to note that the ceremony will have one less face present at the ceremony: Taraneh Alidoosti, who starred in the Best Foreign Film nominee The Salesman directed by Asghar Farhadi (A Separation). It isn't due to the politics of the ceremony itself, but because of the president whom she feels is doing awful things to Muslims.

Farhadi is no stranger to the Academy Awards. He previously won the Best Foreign Film category for A Separation. His return is welcomed with a film that focuses on a couple whose relationship sours following performances of the Arthur Miller play "Death of a Salesman." With critical acclaim and plenty of recognition, it is likely to get people interested in seeing the film. However if it wins, main star Alidoosti will not be present to be accepting the award. Why? Because she has an opinion commonly shared by Hollywood elites.

On Twitter she claims that:
Trump's visa ban for Iranians is racist. Whether this will include a cultural event or not,I won't attend the #AcademyAwards 2017 in protest
It's a pretty bold move, especially for a chance for the film to receive international free publicity. However, the reason makes plenty of sense, especially given the recent treatment of Muslims in President Trump's recent executive orders. Given that there's also conflicts building with Mexico, it does seem likely that nobody outside of the border will show up. Of course, with protests continuing to fill streets, Alidoosti isn't the only one frustrated with how America's new president has handled things.

For those who aren't familiar with the film, here is the trailer:

I have not seen it, but I do expect great things from Farhadi and hope that Alidoosti's protest will be recognized as the bold statement that it is. Considering that cinema is a form of expression, it does seem right that things would get thorny when they disagree with the political climate. While it seems unlikely, one can only hope that all of these actions in defiance of segregation and banning laws won't make America into a cultural wasteland where nobody feels comfortable going. It's part of what makes the Oscars great. Here's hoping that things pan out eventually. For now, it only seems right for Alidoosti to follow her beliefs and make a statement in the face of international exposure. 

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