An Iranian film and a Pakistani documentary have won Oscars at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
Asghar Farhadi, director of Iranian film "A Separation," kisses his Oscars award for best foreign-language film.
Iranian director Ashgar Farhadi's "A Separation" won the Oscar at the ceremony on February 26 for best foreign-language film.
Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy received the Oscar for best documentary short film for "Saving Face," about victims of acid attacks.
In a rare gesture of approval toward the country's renowned movie industry, Iranian state-run television on February 27 described Farhadi's win as a victory over arch-enemy Israel. Israel also had a film, "Footnote," in the best foreign-film competition.
The state broadcaster said the Iranian movie succeeded in "leaving behind" a film from the "Zionist regime."
Iran's Student News Agency (ISNA) celebrated by saying that that with the victory, an "Iranian flag has been planted atop America."
Farhadi accepted the award on behalf of the Iranian people and alluded to current political tensions surrounding Iran.
"At this time, many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy," he said.
"They are happy not just because of an important award or a film, or a filmmaker, but because at a time of tug of war, intimidation, and aggressions exchanged between politicians, the name of their county, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics.
"I proudly offer this award to the people of my country," he continued, "the people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment. Thank you so much."
Asghar Farhadi's interview after winning Oscars
In Pakistan, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani praised Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy for becoming the first Pakistani filmmaker to win an Oscar.
'The Artist' Dominates
In the major categories, the French movie "The Artist" won five Oscars, including best picture, best director for Michel Hazanavicius, and best actor for Jean Dujardin.
French actor Jean Dujardin, who plays "The Artist's" main character, beat out Hollywood heartthrobs George Clooney and Brad Pitt, who had been nominated for their roles in "The Descendants" and "Moneyball."
"The Artist" is the first silent movie to win a best picture prize since the first Oscars 83 years ago, when World War I saga "Wings" was named outstanding picture.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy praised the film's success as proof of the "tremendous success of French cinema and quality cinema."
Martin Scorsese's Parisian 3D adventure "Hugo" also won five Oscars, all in technical categories.
Meryl Streep won the Oscar for best actress for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady."
Streep described the award as "a great honor" but added that "the thing that counts the most with me is the friendships, and the love, and the sheer joy we have shared making movies together."
It was Streep's third career win, and her first Oscar in 29 years, since she won best actress for "Sophie's Choice."
Octavia Spencer won best supporting actress for her role in "The Help" while the award for best supporting actor went to veteran Canadian actor Christopher Plummer for his role in "Beginners."
Plummer, 82, is the oldest Oscar winner ever.
Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters
Copyright (c) 2012 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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