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CIA reveals what's real vs. reel in 'Argo'

Movies based on real events often take creative liberties, veering from the truth for dramatic effect. That’s most definitely true of Ben Affleck’s Argo, as the Central Intelligence Agency was quick to point out on Friday in a game of fact vs. fiction to recognize the 35th anniversary of the Iran Hostage Crisis, which the film centers on.

So, history buffs, think you know what really happened, what’s real and what’s “reel”? Put your knowledge to the test, and check out the tweets, here:

For more, check out the full conversation:

Ben Affleck on the extended cut of 'Argo,' and the movie role he thinks is even more intimidating than Batman

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Last year at this time, Argo had just surpassed the $100 million mark at the box-office on its way to winning three Oscars, including the statue for Best Picture. Ben Affleck’s true Hollywood story of the CIA’s risky mission to rescue six U.S. diplomats from the angry hive of the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979 was bold, confident filmmaking, and his emergence as a sentimental favorite during awards season was as delightful as it was unlikely, considering the many ups and downs of his career. Fifteen years after Good Will Hunting, 10 years after Gigli, and five years after becoming an acclaimed director with Gone Baby Gone, Affleck’s crowning achievement established him as a master Filmmaker, with a capital F, in league with other actors who became esteemed directors, like Eastwood, Redford, and Beatty.

Affleck, fortunately, hasn’t given up acting. In fact, it’s well known that he’ll spend 2014 filming two of Hollywood’s most-anticipated movies: David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and Zack Snyder’s Batman Vs. Superman. (Psst, he plays Batman.) But before he embarked on those projects, Affleck wanted to revisit Argo one last time. In the new extended edition Blu-ray, in stores today, he reinserted nine minutes of footage that revolve around his character’s family life, fulfilling a promise he made to a now-famous actor whose scenes had been left mostly on the cutting-room floor.

Below, in addition to a behind-the-scenes video from the new Blu-ray, Affleck discusses the cut scenes, why he’s not worried about the fans who erupted online when he was cast as the new Batman, and the one character that he considers even more daunting than the caped crusader. READ FULL STORY

'Argo' strikes a 'really raw nerve' in New Zealand

Thirteen minutes into the movie, CIA agent Tony Mendez asks supervisor Jack O’Donnell what happened to a group of Americans when the U.S. Embassy was stormed in Tehran.

“The six of them went out a back exit,” O’Donnell tells Mendez, played by Ben Affleck. “Brits turned them away. Kiwis turned them away. Canadians took them in.”

That’s the only mention of New Zealand in Argo, but it is rankling Kiwis five months after the Oscar-winning film was released in the South Pacific nation. Even Parliament has expressed its dismay, passing a motion stating that Affleck, who also directed the movie, “saw fit to mislead the world about what actually happened.”

New Zealand joins a list of other countries that have felt slighted by the fictionalized account of how a group of Americans was furtively sheltered and secreted out of Iran during the 1979 Islamic Revolution. But nations such as Iran and Canada were much larger participants in the historical event the movie depicts. READ FULL STORY

Iran threatening 'Argo' with lawsuit

Iran is planning to sue Hollywood over the Oscar-winning Argo because of the movie’s allegedly “unrealistic portrayal” of the country, Iranian media reported Tuesday.

Several news outlets, including the pro-reform Shargh daily, said French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre is in Iran for talks with officials over how and where to file the lawsuit. She is also the lawyer for notorious Venezuelan-born terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal.

Following the 1979 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days, but six embassy staffers were sheltered by the Canadian ambassador. Their escape, using a fake movie as a cover story, is recounted in Argo.

After its Oscar win in February, Iranian officials dismissed Argo as pro-CIA, anti-Iran propaganda. READ FULL STORY

'Science Fiction Land': Will 'Argo's' Oscar help doc about real movie behind fake movie?

Argo’s Oscar triumph will certainly enhance the careers of all those involved, none more so than its producer, director, and star, Ben Affleck. But it could also boost another filmmaker who has absolutely nothing to do with Argo, except a desire to bring to screen a part of the story that the acclaimed historical drama left out.

EW.com first told you about Science Fiction Land last fall, when its director, Judd Ehrlich, was seeking Kickstarter support to raise $50,000 to finish the project. (Mission: Accomplished.) To briefly recap here: Argo was based on the true-life tale of CIA agent Tony Mendez (played by Affleck in the movie), who posed as the producer of a fake science fiction flick to rescue six Americans trapped in Iran in 1979. Science Fiction Land is a documentary that will profile an idealistic dreamer-schemer named Barry Ira Geller, whose bid to make a Star Wars-esque sci-fi opus based on Roger Zelazny’s 1967 sci-fi novel Lord of Light (and build a $400 million, 1000-acre theme park called Science Fiction Land) proved to be a wild and weird adventure that ended in scandalous failure in 1980. What Geller didn’t learn until just a few years ago was that the Oscar-winning make-up artist who had been working on Lord of Light, John Chambers (played in Argo by John Goodman), was also a CIA consultant who helped Mendez plan the rescue operation, and that they used Geller’s script and concept art, drawn by comic book legend Jack Kirby, as props in their ruse.
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Oscar winners explain why editing, sound editing, sound mixing, and cinematography AREN'T technical categories

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Leading up to the Oscars, we looked at four categories moviegoers may mistakenly think of as “technical.” The truth is, there were no technical categories in last night’s telecast: Every winner was honored for his or her creative contribution to the film. In case you missed those earlier pieces — which explain what editors, sound editors, sound mixers, and cinematographers actually do — here are excerpts from winners in those categories that prove the point:

Argo editor William Goldenberg:

“It sounds funny, but a lot of people tend to think it’s a purely technical job where you literally go in and cut slates off, and the director says, ‘Do that, do that, do that,'” said Goldenberg, who won his first Oscar for Argo, but was also nominated this year for editing Zero Dark Thirty with Dylan Tichenor and previously for The Insider and Seabiscuit.

The editor begins work when cameras start rolling, and does the first cut of scenes — and of the film — on his or her own. Goldenberg, who’d previously cut Gone Baby Gone for Ben Affleck, went to the Argo director’s home editing room every Sunday, even during production, to show him his week’s worth of work. “Even though I wasn’t getting specific notes from him, I was getting a feel for what he wanted. It was almost like by osmosis: just having all his conversations in my head gave me a feeling of like, Oh, I know Ben would hate this or I know this isn’t what he’s looking for.” Affleck turned over nearly 1 million feet of film, including a noteworthy amount of footage of a parrot being enticed to squawk for the tense airport finale. “It was really hilarious, because you couldn’t see Ben, but you could hear him off-camera. He’s just squawking and squawking and squawking, and then the bird would finally do it, and he would squawk over the bird or be talking over it,” Goldenberg says. “It was a lot of bird.”  READ FULL STORY

Oscar winners: Analysis of who won, why, and where EW went wrong and right

prize_fighter1_bannerThere weren’t many upsets at the 2013 Oscars — more like a lot of sure-things, and a few very close races that could have gone one of three (or sometimes four) different ways.

As expected, Argo claimed the Best Picture award, riding an unstoppable wave of support after Ben Affleck was denied a directing nomination. Did voters cast their ballots last night, and throughout all the pre-Oscar guild awards, because they felt bad for the actor/filmmaker? That’s absurd. The Academy Awards may make pitiful choices sometimes, but they are not a pity party. READ FULL STORY

EW's Jess Cagle goes backstage with Oscar winners -- VIDEO

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What were Oscar winners Anne Hathaway, Adele, Jennifer Lawrence, Daniel Day-Lewis, Ben Affleck, Grant Heslov, and George Clooney thinking when they heard their names announced at last night’s ceremony? EW managing editor Jess Cagle was on the scene to find out — thankfully, with a video camera in tow.

Watch below to see his backstage interviews with some of the night’s biggest winners — and don’t forget that if you missed the show, you can watch the whole thing on ABC.com, the ABC Player for iOS, and Hulu Plus through Wednesday night.

READ FULL STORY

Iran disses 'Argo,' calling Oscar wins 'politically motivated'

Iran’s state TV dismissed the Oscar-winning film Argo on Monday as an “advertisement for the CIA” and some Iranians called the award a political statement by America for its unflattering portrayal of the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

And while Argo has not appeared in any Iranian cinema, there has been no shortage of buzz from those who saw the movie through bootleg DVD networks.

The discussions over Argo in Iran have often pried open a generational divide: Iranians who took part in the 1979 Islamic Revolution picking apart the portrayals of Tehran during the time, and Iranians too young to recall the events getting a different view of the upheavals.

“I want to know what the other side is saying,” said Shieda, a 21-year-old University of Tehran student, who gave only her first name to avoid possible backlash for speaking with foreign media. READ FULL STORY

This year's Academy Awards: a lively, occasionally uneasy mixture of snark and sincerity

I’m someone who respects tradition, so in writing about the Academy Awards, I generally make a point of referring to them at least once — usually in my opening sentence — as, you know, “the Academy Awards.” But now I’ve learned that I shouldn’t even do that: The official, marquee title of the event that ABC broadcast to a billion viewers on Sunday night was “The Oscars.” (Barbara Walters must have been thrilled.) Which may make you think that the show has taken on a new, casual spirit. In certain ways, it has. The host, Seth MacFarlane, threw his barbed tomahawks, treating the Oscars as his own free-form joke writer’s playroom. MacFarlane, a maestro of misanthropic snark, knew that he’d been engaged to push the how many powerful people in the audience can we insult to their faces? tradition of Ricky Gervais to the breaking point, and he happily complied. He tossed prickly insults at Quentin Tarantino, Amour, Harvey Weinstein, Daniel Day-Lewis’ vocal performance as Lincoln, and — thank you! — Entertainment Weekly. But he also framed the whole thing as a self-conscious stunt in which the question of whether or not he was “going too far” became the perpetual theme of his comedy. READ FULL STORY

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