The Iranian film The Salesman won Best Foreign Language Film at Sunday's Academy Awards.
The Salesman's director Asghar Farhadi announced in January that he would not be attending the Academy Awards in the wake of Donald Trump's Muslim ban, which prevented people from Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iraq and Farhadi's home country, Iran, from entering the U.S. However, he did have a prepared statement of his read by Anousheh Ansari, an Iranian entrepreneur, philanthropist and astronaut.
"I'm sorry I'm not with you tonight," Farhadi's statement read. "My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of the other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S. Dividing the world into the us and our enemies categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war.
These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which themselves have been victims of aggression. Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others -- an empathy that we need today more than ever.
Prior to the ceremony, all five directors nominated for foreign language film issued a joint statement,that condemned "the climate of fanaticism and nationalism" in the United States, among other countries.
The directors - Farhadi, Maren Ade (Toni Erdmann), Hannes Holm (A Man Called Ove), Martin Zandvliet (Land of Mine) and Bently Dean and Martin Butler (Tanna) - said that no matter which films wins, the Oscar is dedicated to "all the people, artists, journalists and activists who are working to foster unity and understand, and who uphold freedom of expression and human dignity - values whose protection is now more important than ever." "We believe there is no best country, best gender, best religion or best color," the statement reads. "We want this award to stand as a symbol of the unity between nations and the freedom of the arts."
Hours before the Oscars ceremony began, Farhadi spoke out against Trump a London protest, during which The Salesman was screened. "This solidarity is off to a great start," Farhadi said via satellite to the 10,000 protesters gathered in Trafalgar Square, The Gaurdian reports. "I hope this movement will continue and spread for it has within itself the power to stand up to fascism, be victorious in the face of extremism and say no to oppressive political powers everywhere."
Meanwhile, The award ceremony was held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Casey Affleck won the Best Actor Award for 'Manchester By The Sea' and Emma Stone walked away with the Best Actress Award for her performance in 'La La Land'. The ceremony ended with much drama - 'La La Land' was initially declared as the Best Picture, but it was soon announced that there was an error and the Best Picture
Award was, in fact, won by 'Moonlight'. While confusion prevailed for a while, the makers of 'La La Land' graciously left the stage and made way for makers of 'Moonlight'. Damien Chazelle won the Best Director Award for 'La La Land'.
The evening ended with 'La La Land' taking home six awards while 'Moonlight' won three golden statuettes.
The ceremony was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel who took quite a few jabs at the US President Donald Trump.
Here's the complete list of the winners:
Best Picture - 'Moonlight' by Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner
Best Actress in a Leading Role - Emma Stone for 'La La Land'
Best Actor in a Leading Role - Casey Affleck for 'Manchester By The Sea'
Best Director - Damien Chazelle for 'La La Land'
Best Adapted Screenplay - Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney for 'Moonlight'
Best Original Screenplay - Kenneth Lonergan for 'Manchester By The Sea'
Best Original Song - 'City Of Stars' from 'La La Land' by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Best Original Score - Justin Hurwitz for 'La La Land'
Best Cinematography - Linus Sandgren for 'La La Land'
Best Live Action Short - 'Sing' by Kristof Deak and Anna Udvardy
Best Documentary Short - 'The White Helmets' by Orlando Von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara
Best Film Editing - John Gilbert for 'Hacksaw Ridge'
Best Visual Effects - Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R Jones and Dan Lemmon for 'The Jungle Book'
Best Production Design - David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco for 'La La Land'
Best Animated Feature - 'Zootopia' by Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer
Best Animated Short - 'Piper' by Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer
Best Foreign Language Film - 'The Salesman' by Asghar Farhadi
Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Viola Davis for 'Fences'
Best Sound Mixing - Kevin O'Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace for 'Hacksaw Ridge'
Best Sound Editing - Sylvian Bellemare for 'Arrival'
Best Documentary Feature - Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow for 'O J: Made In America'