It's confirmed, Iran will not join next year's Oscar race for Best Foreign Language award despite the fact that the country won the prestigious gong this year thanks to its acclaimed drama "A Separation". The action was taken as part of the wave of protest against the controversial anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims", which was made in the United States.
Iran's Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Mohammad Hosseini told ISNA News Agency that the country would boycott the 2013 Academy Awards "to protest against the making of a film insulting the Prophet and because of the organizer's failure to take an official position [against the film]." He additionally urged other Islamic countries to support the action and boycott the world's most prestigious awards in film industry.
The Mahmoud Ahmadinejad-led country actually had selected Reza Mirkarimi's dramedy "A Cube of Sugar" to compete in next year's Oscars. The film was premiered at the Montreal World Festival and also screened at 2011 Busan Film Festival in South Korea. It followed a family wedding which turned into a funeral when a family member of the groom suddenly died.
Previously, Iranian officials claimed the controversial movie was just another series of Western's insults to Islam and requested the United States to apologize to Muslim people. Washington responded by condemning the content of the film, but at the same time defending the right to free speech.
"Innocence of Islam", an amateurish pic which was made in California with private financing, grabbed the world's attention after it was posted on YouTube last July. The film caused outrage in various Middle Eastern countries for presenting Prophet Muhammad in offensive ways as a killer and a pedophile.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is set to announce the five nominees for Best Foreign Film on January 10, 2013. The 85th annual Oscars ceremony itself is scheduled to take place on February 24.