‘Argo’ Win Sparks Poor Reviews in Iran

Photograph by Warner Bros. Pictures/Everett Collection

Ben Affleck in “Argo.”

Divisive national and international issues have been known to shadow — and at times dominate — Hollywood’s annual celebration of itself. That wasn’t the case during last night’s 85th Academy Awards presentation. Host Seth MacFarlane may have raised hackles with jokes and songs that, for some, obliterated the good-taste boundary, but mining sequestration for material would be a reach even for him.

There has been some political blowback to the Oscars, though — from Iran.

Best-picture winner “Argo” has been banned from playing there — not too surprisingly, given the film’s depiction of the creative and successful CIA plot to snatch six Americans out of Tehran while 52 others were being held captive at the nearby U.S. embassy in Iran’s capital city. Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad Hosseini previously has called the movie “an offensive act” motivated by “evil intentions. “

The film’s Oscar victory — and the Academy’s surprise in having Michelle Obama make the big announcement from the White House —  sparked further criticism.

“In a rare occasion in Oscar history, the first lady announced the winner for Best Picture for the anti-Iran film Argo, which is produced by the Zionist company Warner Bros,” the Iranian Fars News Agency wrote.

It also offered its own type of fashion critique of the silver gown Obama wore for the occasion, designed by Naeem Khan. The photo run by the news agency added sleeves and extended its top to Obama’s neck.

Tehren-based Mehr News, meanwhile, took umbrage to comments by Ben Affleck — the director, star and one of Argo’s main producers who in his acceptance speech gave a nod to “our friends in Iran who live under terrible circumstances.”

The reaction from Mehr: “After distorting history, Ben Affleck continues to show a bleak picture of Iran: Iranians live in terrible circumstances.”

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