I felt the need to throw some support Argo’s way after a story has emerged that the film was insulting to Canadians and yadda yadda yadda. The alleged sore point is that the film focuses on the previously unpublicized involvement of CIA while, until now, the Canadians got to take all of the credit, thus setting up Canada with a permanent stain on its history and on its record. Okay, fine. But Argo isn’t really about Canada. Argo is about America, specifically, our complicated relationship with Iran which brought down the Carter administration. The hostages were released the day after Ronald Reagan took office. Had the Carter administration been able to publicly announce their involvement with this story, who knows how different things would have turned out for Carter. THAT is the real story they’re telling here. It’s called having a point of view.
The whole thing smacks of typical campaign tactics around Oscar time that usually involve rival studios trying to spread rumors to take out the competition. This story isn’t a rumor — but ink is being splattered north of the border and someone made the call to Ken Taylor. Someone got his feathers ruffled and from there Ben Affleck phoned Taylor and then put a polite addendum to the end of the film to appease the Canadians. Now to casual observers it may look like the whole film was a fraud — and this, my friends, is how you play the game of Oscar — illustrated beautifully in this scene from Chicago about changing the story.
Here’s to hoping that the chatter out there doesn’t harpoon Argo, one of the best films of 2012 and currently the frontrunner to win — which makes it a big, big target. Is it a legit complaint? I suppose if you’re Canadian it might seem so. But to me Argo is telling the story from a specific point of view — if the Canadians want to make their own movie about the story from their end, great. But this was the story of the people WHO DIDN’T GET TO TAKE CREDIT. By all means, let’s cast doubt on the role the CIA played. American agents were already robbed of glory once, so undercutting them all over again will solve everything.