While Ben Affleck is currently celebrating his big win after "Argo" was named the Best Picture at the 85th Academy Awards, some people in Iran were outraged by the victory. The country, which the film was heavily based on, deemed the Iranian hostage thriller's win an "advertisement for the CIA."
On Monday, February 25, Iran's state TV called "Argo" win a political statement by America for its unflattering portrayal of the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in the Middle Eastern country. Iran's culture minister, Mohammad Hosseini, also stated that Hollywood had "distorted history" as part of a "soft war" against cultural influence in Iran.
On the other hand, Tehran City Council member, Masoomeh Ebtekar, claimed that Affleck's film exaggerated the violence among crowds when the revolution erupted in November 1979. As quoted by Entertainment Weekly, he said that Affleck "goes and shows scenes of a very violent and very angry mob throughout the film." He added, "It is never mentioned that these are a group of students."
However, a retired teacher named Reza Abbasi, who witnessed the revolution himself, said, "I know Hollywood usually changes reality to make it attractive for movie lovers, but more or less it was close to the realities then."
Though "Argo" was not played in Iranian theaters, a lot of people in the country have watched the bootleg DVDs of the movie. Most of them said that they wanted to see the revolution in their country through a different perspective. "I want to know what the other side is saying," Shieda, a student at University of Tehran said.
Local newspaper, Hamshahri, also admitted that the film "targeted the culture and civilization of Iran." Still, the paper claimed that it's worthwhile for Iranians to see a different perspective of the events that led to the collapse of relations between the U.S. and Iran. "Iranian audiences are seeing a new version of the events for the first time," said the paper.
At Sunday's Oscars, "Argo" claimed victory by snatching the most coveted award in addition to Best Film Editing and Best Screenplay. In his speech, Affleck gave a shout out to his "friends in Iran living in terrible circumstances right now," which was criticized by Mehr News for portraying "a bleak picture of Iran."