Shaunna Murphy
February 26, 2017 11:07 am
Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

It’s easy to imagine Academy Awards nominees being at least a little competitive with the other hopefuls in their categories. Like sure, “it’s a thrill just to be nominated” and all, but literally everyone in history minus Adele at this year’s Grammys has wanted to win the award they’re up for.

However, when it comes to the 2017 Oscars, we’re pretty sure every single nominee in the Best Foreign Language Film category just won together, as a group. Because, following news that Iranian nominee Asghar Farhadi would not be able to attend the ceremony thanks to President Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban, all six nominees issued an unprecedented statement condemning “fanaticism and nationalism” in the U.S. and other countries.

“On behalf of all nominees, we would like to express our unanimous and emphatic disapproval of the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the U.S. and in so many other countries, in parts of the population and, most unfortunately of all, among leading politicians,” the statement — which was prepared by Farhadi, Denmark’s Martin Zandvliet, Sweden’s Hannes Holm, Germany’s Maren Ade, and Australia’s Martin Butler and Bentley Dean — began.

The six directors then wrote that this fanaticism, perpetuated by fear, is hurting us deeply.

Despite the noticeable presence of the word “walls,” the statement never mentions Trump (or, say, the UK’s Brexit) directly. Instead, it cleverly denounces “politicians” capitalizing on our fear of those who look different from us, and questions the role of cinema in bringing people together.

“Although we don`t want to overestimate the power of movies, we do believe that no other medium can offer such deep insight into other people’s circumstances and transform feelings of unfamiliarity into curiosity, empathy and compassion — even for those we have been told are our enemies,” the directors continued.

This statement certainly sets the bar high for what will almost certainly be a night filled with similarly poignant, politically charged speeches.

Farhadi is now allowed to attend the awards thanks to the courts successfully fighting Trump’s ban, but he’s choosing not to go — instead, he’s sending two Iranian-American space explorers in his place. Because if anything, these insanely tough times are showing us the remarkable things that people are made of.

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