Oscar success of A Separation

The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film is one of the Academy Awards handed out annually by the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States of America with a predominantly non-English dialogue track.

Unlike other Academy Awards, the Best Foreign Language Film Award is not presented to a specific individual. It is accepted by the winning film’s director, but is considered an award for the submitting country as a whole.

A Separation won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012, becoming the first Iranian film to win the award. It received the Golden Bear for Best Film and the Silver Bears for Best Actress and Best Actor at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, becoming the first Iranian film to win the Golden Bear. It also won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, making it the first non-English film in five years to achieve this.

It focuses on an Iranian middle-class couple who separate, and the conflicts that arise when the husband hires a lower-class caregiver for his elderly father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

Millions of Iranians stayed up all night to watch the film’s director, Asghar Farhadi, going up on the stage and delight his countrymen at a time when their lives are clouded with fear of war with Israel and crippling economic sanctions. The Oscars was not broadcast live in Iran by the state media, but many Iranians watched it through illegal satellite dishes. Many online users shared Farhadi’s comments and clips of his acceptance speech and news websites based outside the country live blogged the event.