Iranians’ 20 Oscar appearances! 3 Oscars and 17 Oscar nominations


Iranian/American filmmaker Rayka Zehtabchi, won an Oscar on last Sunday for her short documentary film PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE. If you ask about presence of Iran and Iranian origin filmmakers and artists at Oscars, the only name that comes to the mind is Asghar Farhadi, winner of the two Oscars in Best Foreign Language Picture category, but there have been more films, filmmakers and artists related to Iran that have been nominated for an Oscar. Interesting enough Iranian filmmakers and artists have won 3 Oscars and have received 17 nominations so far!

Gorgen Ray Aghayan, the Iranian/American costume designer, was the very first Iranian that was nominated for an Oscar in 1970 for Costume Design Oscar for Norman Jewison’s Gaily, Gaily.  Aghayan received two more Oscar nominations for the same category in 1973 for Lady Sings the Blues and in 1976 for the famous movie Funny Lady.

Albert Lamorisse beautiful documentary The Lovers’ Wind (Le Vent des amoureux), about Iran’s beauties was nominated for the Best Feature Documentary Oscar in 1978, seven years after he lost his life while working on this film, when his plane crashed in Karaj Dam, nearby Tehran.

Caravans, a co-production of Iran & USA, directed by James Fargo based on the novel by James A. Michene, adapted by Nancy Voyles Crawford for screen was nominated for the Best Costume Design by Renié in 1979. The movie was shot in Iran and starred Anthony Quinn, Behrouz Vossoughi, Jennifer O’Neill, and Michael Sarrazin.

In 1998 Hossein Amini, a British-Iranian screenwriter and film director was nominated for Adapted Screenplay Oscar for his 1997 film The Wings of the Dove.

Barbet Schroeder, an Iranian-born Swiss film director and producer who started his career in French cinema in the 1960s, was nominated for Best Director Oscar for his film Reversal of Fortune in 1990.

Darius Khondji, A.S.C. the Iranian-French cinematographer was nominated for the Best Cinematography Oscar for the movie Evita, the 1996 American musical drama film directed by Alan Parker

In 1999 Children of Heaven, by Majid Majidi was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Picture Oscar, but Italian film, Life is Beautiful won the Oscar in this category.

Habib Zargarpour that has almost two decades of experience in visual effect for film in Hollywood was nominated for Best Visual Effects Oscar for Twister (Nominated with Stefen Fangmeier, John Frazier and Henry LaBounta) in 1996 and for the same category in 2000 for The Perfect Storm (Nominated with Stefan Fangmeier, John Frazier, Walt Conti)

In 2003 Iranian/American Actress, Shohreh Aghdashloo, was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her part in the House of Sand and Fog.

Kami Asgar, an Iranian-American Supervising Sound Editor with over 60 credits as sound producer/editor in both film and television, was nominated in 2007 for Best Sound Recording Oscar for his work at Mel Gibson’s film Apocalypto

Marjane Satrapi, Iranian/French author and filmmaker that his book Persepolis and its adaptation to a film has brought her numerous award (including Cannes Film Festival 2007 Jury Award) was nominated in 2007 for Best Animated Feature Oscar, even it was France’s Best Foreign Language Film entry.

Emud Mokhberi Iranian-American film director was nominated for the Short-Animated Film Oscar in 2009 for his film Oktapodi

In 2012 Talkhon Hamzavi, Iranian-Swiss film director and screenwriter was nominated For an Oscar for her live action short film, Parvaneh.

Asghar Farhadi not only won two Oscars in Best Foreign Language Picture category for A Separation (2011) and The Salesman (2016), but he was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay Oscar for A Separation in 2011.


About Author

Bijan Tehrani

Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as editor in chief of Cinema Without Borders while teaching Language of Film and Film History at workshops nationwide. Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children's books.

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