This morning, nine producers learned that their films have been nominated for the 2014 Best Picture Oscar. If they want expert advice on how it feels to receive the award, they know to consult last year's winners, the producers of "Argo."
"Argo" is based on a true story. It begins in 1979 in Tehran when Iranians raid an American embassy. During the raid, six American staffers escape the building and go to the home of a sympathetic Canadian ambassador. Months later, the increasingly forlorn diplomatic employees are still secret house guests because it is not safe for them to leave. Tony Mendez (played by Ben Affleck), a creative CIA operative, comes up with an idea for him to fly to Tehran and for him and all the diplomatic employees to pose as filmmakers scouting for a location to film a fake movie called "Argo."
The movie is directed by Affleck. Both as an actor and a director, he is at the top of his game. He does a great job of creating danger. One of the best scenes in the film is the climax when Tony and the six Americans are going through the airport. Although biographical accounts suggest that going through the airport was not that intense for the real individuals, the film provides a satisfying roller-coaster ride as we ponder whether they will be apprehended by the end of their trek.
"Argo" contains great moments of comic relief. Most of them come from early in the film when Tony goes to Los Angeles to set up the fake movie. He works with a make-up artist (played by John Goodman) and a producer (played by Alan Arkin). These characters have a lot of great dialogue.
"Argo" ranks among the best films of 2012.