Iran 'may boycott Oscars' in response to Mohammed film

By Jennifer Lipman, September 25, 2012

After triumphing over Israel to win the country's first Oscar, one would have expected Iran's filmmakers to embrace the Academy Awards once again next year.

But according to reports in the Iranian media, the head of the government-controlled cinema agency has called for a boycott of February's ceremony because of the outcry over a film denigrating the prophet Mohammed.

Javad Shamaghdari wants his country's most talented to "avoid" entering a film in the Foreign Film award category, despite national jubilation after Asghar Farhadi won for "A Separation".

The film was up against Israel's "Footnote" in the category, and while the victory was celebrated because of this, more fundamentalist figures in Iran criticised it for its at times unflattering portrait of the country.

He said this should be the case unless Oscar organisers denounced the low-budget film "Innocence of Muslims," for which a trailer appear online sparking riots in Libya and around the Middle East

The committee tasked with selecting a film to enter has already chosen a film called "A cube of sugar", which tells the story of a wedding celebration that becomes a funeral, although it has not yet been officially endorsed by Tehran.

Last updated: 1:11pm, September 25 2012