One thing not really being talked about in the movie trades and news regarding the movie Argo winning the Oscar for Best Picture is Argo’s sci-fi angle. It’s the first time this has happened with a Best Picture winner.
For the unaware reader, the movie is about the CIA’s efforts during the Iran Hostage Crisis to rescue six Americans hiding in a Canadian embassy in Tehran. A crucial sub-plot in Argo has to do with Ben Affleck’s character of CIA operative Tony Mendez coming up with the off-the-wall idea of entering Iran to rescue the American hostages by posing as a film producer. This scheme involves him supposedly producing a fake “science fantasy adventure” movie called Argo and he wants to film the project in Iran because of its exotic location. Unbelievably this scheme works as Mendez is given permission by Iran to enter the hostile country for location scouting.
Actually Argo the fake movie was based on a never-made sci-fi movie called Lord Of Light (based on a book of the same name). Lord Of Light went far enough into pre-production that legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby was commissioned to draw some concept art for the film project.
The whole thing with the fictitious movie is just a gimmick while Argo is devoted to the efforts to smuggle out the Americans. The movie cannot be considered sci-fi at all, yet it has a sliver of a sci-fi connection. This is the closest that the disrespected genre (in Hollywood’s eyes) has come to date for being part of a movie that is a Best Picture winner. Not much, but it’s a first step.
Perhaps one day a genuine sci-fi movie will earn that Best Picture honor on Oscar night.
Lewis T. Grove