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Iran Cancels Celebration for Oscar Winning ‘A Separation’

Officials were reportedly unhappy with director Asghar Farhadi’s unflinching look at Iranian domestic life and laws

The Iranian government pulled the plug this week on a ceremony to honor Asghar Farhadi, the director of the Academy Award-winning "A Separation," according to the Associated Press. 

Oscar voters may have loved the Iranian drama, giving it a statue for Best Foreign Language Film, but it seems the film's portrait of domestic life and law in the repressive Middle Eastern country failed to resonate with its government.

Still no official reason was given for why the ceremony was being scrapped and why the government denied permitting for the event.  

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In his Oscar acceptance speech, Farhadi praised his countrymen, while acknowledging the simmering tension that exists between Iran, Israel and many Western powers such as the United States.

"At this time, many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy," Farhadi said. "They are happy not just because of an important award or a film or filmmaker, but because at the time when talk of war, intimidation, and aggression is exchanged between politicians, the name of their country Iran is spoken here through her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics."

"A Separation" centers on a couple in Tehran, whose marriage is strained in part by the wife's desire to leave Iran. It also received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. 

In the immediate aftermath of Farhadi's Oscar win, the Iranian government appeared overjoyed that he had bested a film from Israel, "Footloose," to capture the honor.  Clips of Farhadi accepting his award reportedly aired on state-controlled television. 

But there have been tensions between Iranian officials and Farhadi in the past. "A Separation" was made without financial backing from the government and Iranian officials initially barred Farhadi from filming the story because of his supportive comments for several exiled or out-of-favor film directors. 

That ban was lifted and "A Separation" went on to earn nearly $14 million at the global box office and a spot on many critics' top ten lists.