Canada’s Former Ambassador Feels Slighted by Argo

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 23 2013 7:18 AM

Former Ambassador Still Feels Slighted by Argo, Says Canada Deserves Mention at Oscars

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Ken Taylor and Pat Taylor attend the Argo Washington, D.C. premiere last year

Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

The former Canadian ambassador to Iran who played a key role in protecting a group of Americans during the Iran hostage crisis says it would reflect badly on Ben Affleck if he doesn’t in some way mention Canada during the Academy Awards Sunday. But the former ambassador, Ken Taylor, who says he feels like his role was diminished by a film that seeks to make the CIA the heroes in the rescue of six U.S. citizens, isn’t expecting anything, reports the Associated Press.  "I would hope he would” mention Canada if Argo wins the Academy Award for best picture, Taylor said.  “If he doesn't then it's a further reflection.”

The criticism of the film in Canada isn’t new, but it seems to have grown now that Argo is widely expected to win the Academy Award for best picture, which coincides with the release of the DVD version of the film, points out the New York Times. “In the movie, Canada and Ottawa didn’t exist,” Taylor said. “It’s a great film, it’s great. But at the same time it was a Canadian story that’s been, all of sudden, totally taken over by the Americans. Totally.” The former ambassador also said he didn’t like how the film suggests the CIA let Canada take the credit merely for secrecy reasons.

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Taylor highlighted that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said on CNN on Thursday night that "90 percent of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian.” (Watch video after the jump.)

Affleck issued a statement Friday night, expressing surprise at the latest comments, saying he thought the issue 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 that Ken continues to take issue with the film," Affleck said in a statement.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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