Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian director of “The Salesman,” may well win his second Oscar on Sunday but he won’t be there to accept it. In the last several weeks, he has been outspoken in his criticism of the Muslim ban imposed by President Donald Trump. While the courts have ruled the ban null and void, Farhadi is refusing to travel here for the ceremony.
The other four nominees — Germany’s Maren Ade (“Toni Erdmann”), Australia’s Martin Butler & Bentley Dean (“Tanna”), Sweden’s Hannes Holm (“A Man Called Ove”) and Denmark’s Martin Zandvliet (“Land of Mine”) — applauded his decision and have added their voices to the debate.
The six nominated directors just issued a joint statement in which they observed, “regardless of who wins on Sunday, we refuse to think in terms of borders. We believe there is no best country, best gender, best religion or best color. We want this award to stand as a symbol of the unity between nations and the freedom of the arts.
And, in advance, they dedicated the Oscar 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 – values whose protection is now more important than ever.”
Farhadi has asked two Iranian-American NASA scientists — Firouz Naderi, director of Solar Systems Exploration and engineer Anousheh Ansari, — to represent him and his film at the Academy Awards. There is no word on what he wants them to say or whether he will appear via satellite.
He won this award in 2012 for “A Separation” which was also a nominee for Best Original Screenplay. His new film focuses on the ways a couple’s relationship is tested by outside forces, this time by the life of the woman who previously occupied their new home. “The Salesman” competed for the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and took home prizes for Best Actor (Shahab Hosseini) and Best Screenplay.
Seventeen of our 29 experts Oscar experts are now backing “The Salesman,” which gives it odds of 8/11. “Toni Erdmann,” which led this race until just a week ago, has the support of 10 experts and odds of 15/8. One expert is predicting an upset by the Swedish entry, “A Man Called Ove,” giving it odds of 16/1. Denmark’s “This Land is Mine” and Australia’s “Tanna” are long-shots at 66/1 and 80/1 respectively.
See how our experts rank Oscar nominees according to likelihood of winning in all top races. Use the drop-down menus at the top of each page to see other categories. And see individual experts’ Oscar predictions as well.
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films are faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before winners are announced on February 26 at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.Oscar experts predict Best Foreign Language Film showdown: ‘The Salesman’ v. ‘Toni Erdmann’