A Separation makes Iranian history as it bags Oscar

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews| 27-02-2012

A Separation has become the first Iranian film to ever gain an Oscar, winning an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in Los Angeles last night (26 February) and sparking celebrations across the country.
"At this time, many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy," said the film's director, Asghar Farhadi, as he accepted the Oscar.
"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."
The much coveted Academy Award comes at a time when Iran faces severe sanctions from the US and EU over its controversial nuclear programme and increasing tensions with Israel.
Iranian filmmakers have also faced increased pressure from authorities in Tehran in recent months, with the state closure of cultural institution the House of Cinema.
"I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilisations and despise hostility and resentment," said Farhadi.
Millions of Iranians reportedly stayed up through the night to watch the glitzy Hollywood awards ceremony on satellite TV, reception of which is illegal in the Islamic Republic.
As the country's celebrations spilled onto social networks, Iranian journalist Reza Asadi exclaimed on Twitter: "Imagine Iranians are now waking up to find the world is talking about its cinema, not its nuke, for a change."
Beating competition from Belgium's Bullhead, Israel's Footnote, Poland's In Darkness and Canada's Monsieur Lazhar, the film stars Leila Hatami, Peyman Moaadi, Sareh Bayat, and Sarina Farhadi in its tale of a married couple deciding whether or not to leave Iran to safeguard their family's future.
A Separation also won a Golden Globe for best foreign film in January, in addition to the Berlin Film Festival's 'golden bear' for best film, the grand award for best film at the St Petersburg Film Festival, and the feature film prize at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.