While #OscarsSoWhite doesn’t look like it’s happening this year, the Academy Awards have still been mired in their usual amount of controversy. What with our new President’s attempted travel ban that would have restricted people from primarily Muslim countries from entering the US, and the overall xenophobic malaise that’s been settling over the regime since Election Day, relations between our country and the rest of the world have been pretty strained.

Today, the five directors nominated for Best Foreign Language Film — Martin Zandvliet (Land of Mine), Hannes Holm (A Man Called Ove), Asghar Farhadi (The Salesman) (who is boycotting), Maren Ade (Toni Erdmann), Martin Butler, and Bentley Dean (Tanna) — have issued a joint statement decrying “the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the U.S. and in so many other countries.”

The fear generated by dividing us into genders, colors, religions and sexualities as a means to justify violence destroys the things that we depend on – not only as artists but as humans: the diversity of cultures, the chance to be enriched by something seemingly “foreign” and the belief that human encounters can change us for the better. These divisive walls prevent people from experiencing something simple but fundamental: from discovering that we are all not so different.

…Human rights are not something you have to apply for. They simply exist – for everybody. For this reason, we dedicate this award to all the people, artists, journalists and activists who are working to foster unity and understanding, and who uphold freedom of expression and human dignity – values whose protection is now more important than ever. By dedicating the Oscar to them, we wish to express to them our deep respect and solidarity.

 

You can read the full statement here (via Variety).