Was Argo Really the Best Picture of 2012?

Argo won Best Picture at last night’s Oscars. I saw the movie and liked it, but when I left the theater I never dreamed it would be considered the best movie of the year. I have a theory about why it won.

If you haven’t seen it, Argo is the story of a group of Americans who escape the U.S. embassy to Iran when it’s overrun and take refuge in the Canadian embassy. The CIA hatches a plan to get them out of the country with fake passports by pretending they’re part of an advance film crew scouting locations for a science fiction movie called Argo.

The embassy workers get out of a number of scrapes because the Iranian authorities are fascinated by the movie project and fawn over storyboards to the point of distraction. The message that Iran may hate America but loves American movies stroked Hollywood’s ego. No doubt that helped make Argo a favorite of the Oscar voters.