Foreign language Oscar-nominated directors have written against the climate of fanaticism in the United States. Tonight, the 89th Academy Awards will be held to award outstanding performers and directors in their category. Although it is meant to be a night of praise, six foreign language directors decided to bring attention to the cultural climate in the United States.
According to the Guardian, the six directors who signed the joint statement include Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, nominated for his film 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.
All of the directors who released the statement are nominated for the Academy Award’s “Best Foreign Language Film” category. The Oscar-nominated directors’ statement, which was released on Friday, spoke of their “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.”
Although the foreign language directors do not mention President Donald Trump by name in their letter, the references to nationalism and “divisive walls” present a correlation to Trump. Trump’s White House has signaled an acceptance for nationalism and “Alt-right” influences such as White House chief strategist and former Breitbart editor Steve Bannon.
The Oscar-nominated directors’ letter also speaks about the divisiveness Trump’s presidency has caused in the United States. As Forbes reported, hate crimes significantly increased after Trump’s election and the president has proposed measures that specifically target refugees, immigrants, and undocumented citizens.