Has there ever been a year where former and current US government officials and agencies had more to say about Hollywood films? The CIA is up in arms over Zero Dark Thirty, Connecticut Congressmen Joe Courtney is incensed over his state being besmirched by Lincoln, and Michelle Obama is handing out Best Picture awards at the Oscars. Now former US president Jimmy Carter is weighing in on Ben Affleck’s Academy Award-winning film, Argo. Carter put on his critic’s hat during an appearance on Piers Morgan’s CNN show last Friday and pointed out some major historical inaccuracies in Affleck’s movie.
Carter called the film “a great drama,” adding that he hoped Argo would take home the top prize at the Osars last night (in case you’ve been unconscious since Sunday afternoon: it did). But the ex-POTUS, who presided over the country during the Iran hostage crisis, took issue with Affleck’s version of events. Argo portrays the mission to smuggle six US embassy workers out of Iran as a plot designed and carried out by the CIA but, says Carter, “90 percent of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian.”
Former Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor (played by Victor Garber in the film) also had an earful for Affleck. “There would be no movie without the Canadians,” said Taylor. “We took the six in without being asked so it starts there. And the fact that we got them out with some help from the CIA then that’s where the story loses itself. In general it makes it seem like the Canadians were just along for the ride. The Canadians were brave. Period,” he said. According to Taylor, Tony Mendez, the CIA agent Affleck played in Argo, “was only in Iran for a day and a half.”
Affleck must have gotten the memo because he did thank Canada in his acceptance speech last night (we ranked below Steven Spielberg and Affleck’s parents, but above Iran and Jennifer Garner). “I want to thank Canada. I want to thank our friends in Iran living in terrible circumstances right now,” said the director, ending his speech with some words of wisdom for future Oscar hopefuls: “You have to work harder than you think you possibly can. You can’t hold grudges. It’s hard but you can’t hold grudges. And it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life because that’s going to happen. All that matters is you gotta get up.”