Iran won its first-ever Oscar for best foreign language movie of the year Sunday night, beating out Israel’s ”Footnote,” a movie on the relationship between a father and son, both Talmudic scholars at an Israeli university, and the intrigues that are rife in the competitive field of academic Talmudic research.
“Separation,” directed by Asghar Farhadi, deals with a couple going through a divorce in modern Iran.
“Footnote” was directed by Joseph Cedar, a native of the United States who lives in Tel Aviv and whose “Beaufort” film on the First Lebanon War also was a failed entry for an Oscar in 2007.
Another loser in the best movie sector was “In Darkness,” which focused on a dozen Jews who hid in sewers during the Nazi invasion of Poland.
Small satisfaction was gained by Jews at the failure of “W.E” to win first prize for Best Costume Design, preventing the appearance of the name of Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, who is noted in the credits.
Farhadi sat with Cedar at the same table at a press conference, dousing speculation that the Iranian would carry out his “Separation” theme to boycott an Israeli. The Iranian movie is playing at Israeli theatres, but "Footnote" is not screened in Iran, which obliterates all signs of the “Zionist regime.”
Cedar's family is Orthodox and his father is an Israel Prize winner in Biochemistry. Cedar’s mother told Voice of Israel government radio she is “not disappointed" and even is ”happy”, although "Footnote" did not win first place.
Cedar's movie is the fourth time an Israeli film has been nominated for an Oscar in the past five years and illustrates Israel’s success in Hollywood. This year was only the second time an Iranian film had been nominated for the best foreign language award.
As for relations with Iran, Cedar’s mother said, “The Iranian director is terrific. It’s a shame we can’t have normal relations with creative people.”
Farhadi, after winning the Foreign Language Film Oscar for Iran, said, “At a time of tug of war, intimidation and aggressions exchanged between politicians, the name of their county, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics."
“I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment.”