‘Argo’ producers, screenwriter thank Canadians after Oscar wins

Wide Screen

Although Canada only came away with one Oscar at Sunday night's Academy Awards (or two, if you count the win Canadian set decorator Jim Erickson shared for "Lincoln"), Canadians were on the receiving end of some very high-profile shout outs later in the evening.

The night's big winner was the Ben Affleck-directed spy thriller "Argo," which took home the Best Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, and coveted Best Picture trophies at the star-studded awards ceremony.

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Based on true events, "Argo" depicts a very Hollywood version of the "Canadian Caper," a 1979 rescue of six American diplomats from Iran. However, many -- including the real-life former Canadian ambassador to Iran and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter -- have taken issue with the Best Picture winner because it did not properly reflect the integral role in that Canada played in the rescue.

Where "Argo" frames the daring ex-filtration as a major victory for the American Central Intelligence Agency, the bulk of the actual mission was planned and executed by Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor (played by Canadian Victor Garber) and embassy staffer John Sheardown. Taylor has been particularly vocal in his apparently well-founded criticism of the film.

"In general ['Argo'] makes it seem like the Canadians were just along for the ride. The Canadians were brave. Period," Taylor told the Associated Press this week.

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After winning the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, "Argo" screenwriter Chris Terrio attempted to mend fences, specifically thamking the "Taylors and Sheardowns" for their creativity and ingenuity in organizing the rescue. Then, when "Argo" won Best Picture later in the evening, an emotional Ben Affleck (who also produced and starred in the movie) thanked everyone who was involved in the real-life Canadian Caper and the people who helped make the film, making sure to mention Canada by name as he struggled to catch his breath.

"Argo" may be the Hollywood version of the story, omitting historical facts for the sake of drama, but at least the filmmakers took time out of their very brief acceptance speeches to acknowledge all those who took part in one of the greatest escapes in history.