Since it was first uploaded to YouTube in July, the 14-minute English language video “The Innocence of Muslims” served as a genesis of rioting and outrage.
On Sept. 25, Iran’s Culture Minister Mohammed Hosseini announced that Iran would not submit a film for consideration in the 2013 Academy Awards as a form of protest over the infamous YouTube video, as reported by The New York Times.
Hosseini stated that Iran came to this decision because the Academy failed to take an official stance on the short film.
The film is amateurish, and nearly all the anti-Islamic dialogue is hastily added in postproduction via obvious dubbing. It is hardly a short film, rather a series of clips sloppily edited together.
The decision to boycott comes as a shock, since Iran won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for the first time in February for the highly lauded A Separation.
Directed by Asghar Farhadi, A Separation explores the tumultuous parting of a married couple. Upon its release, it instantly became one of the most critically praised films of 2011.
According to the website Rotten Tomatoes, 99 percent of professional film critics gave it a positive review, and it appeared on over 40 end-of-the-year movie lists.
While the derogatory sentiment towards Islam is clear in “The Innocence of Muslims,” Iran’s embracement of A Separation’s Oscar win weakens Hosseini’s reasons for the boycott.
A Separation hardly glamorized Iranian life. In fact, a major plot point is a mother wanting to leave the country to provide better opportunities for her adolescent daughter.
The deadline for countries to submit a film to the Academy was Oct. 1. Prior to the boycott, Iran selected a film titled A Cube of Sugar and planned to submit it for consideration.