The producers of "Argo, the winner for best picture, Grant
Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, pose with their
awards backstage. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Director Ben Affleck has addressed his Oscar-winning film
Argo's controversial treatment of New Zealand, saying he "loves
New Zealand and New Zealanders".
Affleck directs and stars in Argo, which tells the story of
six US diplomats who escaped the takeover of their embassy in
Tehran in 1979.
The film suggests the diplomats were turned away by the
British and New Zealand embassies before being taken in by
They were eventually whisked out of Iran in early 1980 in an
elaborate ruse by the CIA which disguised them as a film
During a backstage press conference following Argo's Academy
Award win for Best Picture, Affleck said: "Let me just start
by saying I love New Zealand, and I love New Zealanders."
Affleck went on to say that despite it being a historical
movie, making a three-hour film involved making "creative
"It's tricky; you walk a fine line. It's not an easy thing to
do. You try to honour the truth, the essence, the basic truth
of the story that you're telling.
"The story that we're telling is true ... it's constructed as
well as it could possibly be."
It's not the first time Affleck has defended his decision.
He told the New Zealand Herald's TimeOut magazine last year
that he struggled with the portrayal because it cast Britain
and New Zealand in a way that wasn't "totally fair".
He later told the Telegraph: "I was setting up a situation
where you needed to get a sense that these six people had
nowhere else to go."
"But I believe it was New Zealand who turned them on to the
Canadians, so it wasn't merely, 'Oh, we're going to turn you
away'. It was more about where was the best place for them to
"And the truth is that above all, the Canadians were the most
heroic in that sense and in the movie. It does not mean to
diminish anyone else," he said.
Argo won Oscar trophies this week for Best Picture, Best
Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing.