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Foreign Language Oscar Nominees Condemn US "Fanaticism And Nationalism"

In a statement released on Friday, all six directors appeared to speak out against President Donald Trump's administration.

Posted on February 25, 2017, at 4:37 a.m. ET

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Iranian director Asghar Farhadi

The six directors behind this year's Oscar-nominated foreign-language films have signed an open letter condemning the "fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the US."

In a statement released on Friday, the directors appeared to speak out against President Donald Trump's administration.

"The fear generated by dividing us into genders, colors, religions and sexualities as a means to justify violence destroys the things that we depend on – not only as artists but as humans: the diversity of cultures, the chance to be enriched by something seemingly 'foreign' and the belief that human encounters can change us for the better," the statement said. "These divisive walls prevent people from experiencing something simple but fundamental: from discovering that we are all not so different."

The letter was signed by Asghar Farhadi, the director of Iran’s The Salesman; Martin Zandvliet, director of Denmark’s Land of Mine; Hannes Holm, director of Sweden’s A Man Called Ove; Maren Ade, director of Germany’s Toni Erdmann; and Martin Butler and Bentley Dean, joint directors of Australia’s Tanna.

Farhadi, who won an Oscar in 2012 for his film A Separation, has previously announced he would boycott the ceremony in protest against Trump’s travel ban.

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German director Maren Ade

Here is the statement in full:

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 fear generated by dividing us into genders, colors, religions and sexualities as a means to justify violence destroys the things that we depend on – not only as artists but as humans: the diversity of cultures, the chance to be enriched by something seemingly “foreign” and the belief that human encounters can change us for the better. These divisive walls prevent people from experiencing something simple but fundamental: from discovering that we are all not so different.

So we’ve asked ourselves: What can cinema do? 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.

Regardless of who wins the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday, we refuse to think in terms of borders. We believe there is no best country, best gender, best religion or best color. We want this award to stand as a symbol of the unity between nations and the freedom of the arts.

Human rights are not something you have to apply for. They simply exist – for everybody. For this reason, we dedicate this award to all the people, artists, journalists and activists who are working to foster unity and understanding, and who uphold freedom of expression and human dignity – values whose protection is now more important than ever. By dedicating the Oscar to them, we wish to express to them our deep respect and solidarity.

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