Argo, Ben Affleck

My Favorite Scene: Argo (2012) – “The Best Bad Option”

Last year something weird happened at the Oscars….one of the best films of the year actually won the Best Picture award.  Hardly ever happens.  Probably won’t happen this year.  Now, granted, the Academy made up for the logic they showed in the Best Picture category by not even nominating the director of the movie they gave Best Picture to, but that’s still more logic than you can squeeze out of a typical Oscar ceremony.  We begin Oscar Week with my favorite scene from last year’s best picture: Argo.Argo is a story so fantastic, so outrageously audacious that it wouldn’t work if it wasn’t true.  That the CIA created an entire fictitious Hollywood studio to fund a fictitious science fiction epic called Argo as a cover to get an extraction specialist into Iran during the height of Khomeini’s madness and rescue a group of hostages that had taken refuge at the Canadian Embassy.  The op was to get the specialist in as a location scout for the film, teach the hostages just enough about film making and being Canadian to pass for a Canadian film crew and then fly them out of the country just like that.

It’s an amazing story full of some of the most tense, white-knuckle scenes in recent memory (the airport and the bazaar especially), but if you isolate a scene, you lose a lot of the build to the tension that makes those scenes so amazing.  There are also a lot of absurdly funny scenes in Argo because the whole concept is so surreal.  In isolating one scene as my favorite, I tried to pick one that’s a balance.  It’s when Ben Affleck (who didn’t get enough credit for the acting he did in this film as well as his outstanding direction) and Bryan Cranston have to summarize their options to the CIA brass to get a green light.  Argo is a brilliant film and it was nice to have a reigning Best Picture worthy of the title.
Argo, Argo Extended Cut, Ben Affleck

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