The Canadian former ambassador to Iran who protected Americans at great personal risk during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis says it will reflect poorly on Ben Affleck if he doesn’t say a few words about Canada’s role if the director’s film ‘Argo’ wins the Oscar for best picture on Sunday.
But Ken Taylor - who said he feels slighted by the movie because it makes Canada look like a meek observer to CIA heroics in the rescue of six US citizens caught in the crisis - is not expecting it.
“I would hope he would [say something],” said Taylor. “If he doesn’t then it’s a further reflection but
given recent events I’m not anticipating anything.”
Taylor kept the Americans hidden at the embassy in Tehran and facilitated their escape by getting fake passports and plane tickets for them. He became a hero in Canada and the US. The role he played is minimised in the film. Taylor said: “In general it makes it seem like the Canadians were just along for the ride. The Canadians were brave. Period.”
Affleck’s thriller is widely expected to win the best-picture gong. Two other high-profile best-picture nominees this year, Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ have also been criticised for their portrayal of some factual issues.
Affleck said in a statement that he thought his issue with Taylor had been resolved.
“I admire Ken very much for his role in rescuing the six houseguests. I consider him a hero. In light of my many conversations as well as a change to an end card that Ken requested I am surprised Ken continues to take issue with the film,” he said. “I spoke to him recently and yet he didn’t mention any lingering concerns.”
Taylor noted that former US President Jimmy Carter has said: “90 per cent of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian,” but the film “gives almost full credit to the American CIA”.
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