Iranian drama The Salesman has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.

Filmmaker Asghar Farhadi may pick up Iran’s second-ever Oscar for his Farsi-language film, which tells the story of an acting couple’s strained relationship.

The 89th Annual Academy Awards will take place on February 26 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, and will be presented by television host Jimmy Kimmel.

The critically acclaimed Iranian director earned Iran its first Academy Award in the same category in 2012, with his drama titled A Separation.

The Salesman also received a nomination at the 2017 Golden Globes earlier this month, and won Best Screenplay and Best Actor at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

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While some Iranian filmmakers have faced difficulties with the Islamic republic’s censors, Farhadi told Slant Magazine he had encountered no such issues.

“I believe art in the face of censorship is like water in the face of stone. When you place an obstacle like a stone in the way of water, the water finds its way around it,” he said.


Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi.

“This doesn’t mean agreeing with censorship, of course. But one of the things that censorship does… one of the unintended consequences is that it makes you creative.”

Other films nominated in the category include a Danish-German historical drama, a Swedish comedy, a German comedy and an Australian romance set on an island in the South Pacific.

The Middle East is also represented in the Best Documentary Short category at this year’s Oscars, with two films centred around the Syrian conflict receiving nominations.

The White Helmets follows a group of volunteers who put their own lives at risk to save people from the bombed-out streets of Aleppo, while Watani: My Homeland captures a Syrian family’s attempt to make a new life in Germany.

American musical La La Land looks to be the big winner on the night, with a whopping 14 nominations – tying for the record number of nods with All About Eve in 1950 and Titanic in 1997.


The 2016 Oscars were widely criticised for their lack of diversity, with only white actors and actresses selected for the top four categories.

There was some improvement among this year’s nominations list, with six black actors – a record number – receiving nods.

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