The International Press Academy, which usually focuses on independent films over studio, has discovered a film about which I have written repeatedly over the last 14 months. The IPA has nominated The Stoning of Soraya M for its Satellite awards in several categories, naming it as one of the top 10 films of 2009. Two of the women in the movie get singled out for particular attention in the list of nominations (via HA reader Thomas B):
- Best Motion Picture (Drama)
- Best Actress (Drama) – Shoreh Aghdashloo
- Best Supporting Actress (Drama) – Mozhan Marnó
Peter Kneght calls the inclusion of Soraya “out of nowhere,” and that’s not an unfair assessment. The picture did not do great box office, but that’s not atypical for indie films. Those of us who pushed hard to get the public’s attention for the film were ultimately disappointed to see it disappear so quickly from theaters. We’ve been waiting for the film to get released on DVD/Blu-Ray, and perhaps this will encourage investors to back such an effort.
The nominations are well-deserved, and I’d argue that the IPA missed a couple of worthy nominees as well. Shoreh Aghdashloo was the most recognizable cast member besides Jim Caviezel, who bookended the film as the journalist who ultimately tells the tale. Aghdashloo gave an unforgettable performance as a woman trapped in post-revolutionary Iran but whose considerable influence falls just short of stopping a grave injustice. Marnó is absolutely heartbreaking as the woman betrayed by her husband, her community, and her faith in justice in the most horrifying manner possible. (Read my initial review here.)
But a couple of the men deserve some recognition, too. I have to admit to some personal bias on behalf of Navid Negahban, who appeared on my show when the film opened, and whose portrayal of Soraya’s husband Ali gave a malevolent story the necessary presence for what transpired. But it seems almost inexplicable to me that anyone who saw the film would not have nominated David Diaan for his critical performance as Ebrahim, the mayor whose conscience told him that evil was afoot, but whose status blinded him as to the real victims of it. Diaan provided the embodiment of the axiom, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” and without it, the film would have had much less emotional impact and resonance.
I’m hoping the IPA gives an award “out of nowhere” to a film that clearly deserved a lot more recognition than it got. I’m also happy to see The Hurt Locker on the same list. That film has a DVD/Blu-ray release date of January 12, 2010, and I’m already signed up to buy it, and you can read my review here.