Israeli film "Footnote" by Joseph Cedar lost the best foreign film category at Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony to Iran’s "A Separation," by Asghar Farhadi. The night’s biggest winner was silent film "The Artist" winning, amongst others, the best film and best actor categories.
As Sandra Bullock announced the winner in the best foreign film category, Farhadi took to the stage to claim his prize. The Iranian director chose to dedicate the award to the people of Iran and delivered a message of peace.
"At this time, many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy…because 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," he said.
"I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment."
Iran’s state TV has described the country’s foreign film Oscar win as a victory over Israel.
The Monday broadcast says the award won by "The Separation" succeeded in "leaving behind" a film from the "Zionist regime," a reference to the country’s arch-foe Israel.
"A Separation," a tale of domestic turmoil, competed in the Oscars’ foreign language category against the Israeli "Footnote," about a rivalry between father-son Talmudic scholars.
Traditionally, Iranian officials are dismissive of international cultural ceremonies.