Iranian film The Salesman won the prize for Best Foreign Language Film, although its director Asghar Farhadi stayed home as a way to protest President Donald Trump’s travel ban, which prohibits citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran among them — from entering the United States.

The order was blocked by a federal court.

On Sunday night, Anousheh Ansari accepted the award on Farhadi’s behalf in a powerful speech that was met with loud applause.

“I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight,” Ansari said, speaking for Farhadi. “My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhuman law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.”

“Dividing the world into the us and our enemies categories creates fear,” she continued. “A deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression.”

Ansari concluded: “Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others. An empathy which we need today more than ever. Thank you on behalf of Mr. Farhadi.”

Farhadi said in a statement to the New York Times in January that he would not be attending the Academy Awards.

“The Salesman” stars Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti as a couple who gets cast in a local rendition of Arthur Miller’s 1949 stage play “Death of a Salesman.”

This is Farhadi’s second Oscar win. He previously took home a trophy for his 2011 drama, “A Separation.”

The White Helmets, a film about volunteer rescue efforts in war-torn Syria, took home the award for Best Documentary Short, and the director and producers made a poignant statement about the current state of world affairs.

“There is so much misunderstanding about Muslims and people from the Middle East and film can help change that narrative,” Director Orlando von Einsiedel. 

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