The Academy Awards have long existed uncomfortably alongside politics. The ceremony’s most notable moments of public protest—Marlon Brando sending an activist for Native American rights to accept his trophy for The Godfather, or Michael Moore’s anti-George W. Bush speech in 2004—attracted as much ridicule as they did praise. The Oscars will always be the grandest industry party Hollywood throws for itself every year, making them inherently frivolous in many ways. As such, political speeches made at the event are often dismissed as a largely progressive industry preaching to the choir, or as egotistical posturing from out-of-touch stars.For this year’s ceremony, however, something more immediate is at stake. The Oscar-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, the director of The Salesman(nominated this year for Best Foreign Language Film), recently announced he would not attend this year’s ceremony. The decision was in response to President Trump’s recent executive order on immigration, which bars citizens of Iran and six other countries from entering the United States. Whether Farhadi could even attend (on some sort of waiver) was quickly put aside; as he explained in a statement, “[It] seems that the possibility of this presence is being accompanied by ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even if exceptions were to be made for my trip.”

He’s not the only one missing the show: Hala Kamil, the Syrian subject of the Best Documentary Short nominee Waitani: My Homeland, also cannot enter the U.S. under the executive order, and neither can the subjects of The White Helmets, another Documentary Short nominee about the Syrian refugee crisis. Their absence, and Hollywood’s generally outspoken response to President Trump, will make for a charged Oscar ceremony, similar to last weekend’s SAG Awards, where many of the night’s presenters and winners took the opportunity to speak out against the executive order. In response, some dramatic options have been floated: a boycott, or even canceling the ceremony altogether. But these ideas overlook the fundamental purpose of the Oscars, which—despite sometimes missing the mark—recognize some of the best cinema Hollywood has to offer, including films that deserve greater exposure.

The suggestion that the Oscars be canceled this year stems in part from principle. The idea of artists being barred from attending the ceremony because of their country of origin is markedly against the global principles of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Though it’s often derided for its stodgy choices, the Best Foreign Language Film category does bring wider attention to international filmmaking. The Academy called Trump’s executive order “extremely troubling” in a statement, adding that the group “celebrates achievement in the art of filmmaking, which seeks to transcend borders and speak to audiences around the world, regardless of national, ethnic, or religious differences.”