It took an hour and a half for Oscar night’s first explicitly political acceptance speech, and it took a director who chose to boycott the Oscars to deliver it—albeit in abstentia. Iran’s Asghar Farhadi, who won his second Best Foreign Language Film award for his drama The Salesman, chose not to attend the Oscars in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven countries (including his own). Instead, he asked two Iranian-Americans—engineer Anousheh Ansari and former Director of Solar Systems Exploration at NASA Firouz Naderi—to attend in his stead. They read a moving and fierce speech from Farhadi, who declared that his absence “was out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhuman law that bans entry of immigrants to the US.”
Watch the speech, and also watch The Salesman, and also while you’re at it watch Farhadi’s remarkable previous Oscar-winning film A Separation.