Entries in Oscars (4)


State Department 'Excited' About "Argo's" Oscars Win

Warner Bros. Pictures(WASHINGTON) -- Argo's victory at the Oscars went over well with the State Department, the setting for some scenes in the best picture winner.

Officials in the department were "excited" to see the movie claim the Oscars' top prize, according to department spokesman Patrick Ventrell.

Ventrell said Secretary of State John Kerry was appreciative of the fact that Argo -- based on the true story of the CIA's rescue of six American diplomats hiding in the Canadian ambassador's home during the Iranian hostage crisis -- informed audiences of "the challenges we face living and working in overseas embassies."

Over the weekend, Kerry tweeted, "Good luck @BenAffleck and #Argo at the Oscars. Nice seeing @StateDept & our Foreign Service on the big screen."

Iranian media has had less-supportive things to say about Argo since the Oscars, claiming the film is biased and depicts the country in an unflattering light.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Michelle Obama’s Image Altered By Iranian News Agency

The First Lady in the pre-touchup photo. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- A semi-official Iranian news agency called Fars altered an image of Michelle Obama at the Academy Awards to appeal to their more conservative readers.

An image was Photoshopped to show Mrs. Obama with covered shoulders and chest– a stark contrast from the sleeveless silver gown that she was wearing by designer Naeem Khan on Sunday night.

Although modest by American standards, the designer gown, which exposed the shoulders and partial chest of the first lady, violated the codes of modesty enforced in many Muslim countries.

Patrick Ventrell, deputy State Department spokesperson, wouldn’t comment on Michelle Obama’s manipulated photo but he did say that the State Department has seen images and statements manipulated in the past by the Iranian government.

“We’ve persistently seen Iranian news agencies, whether they’re partially or fully state-run, use fabrication and use other means to distort images.”

Ventrell continues, “It’s something that we’ve seen in the past here in this department. We’ve seen photos manipulated. We’ve seen official statements manipulated. So there would be nothing new. It wouldn’t surprise me.”

And he is right, as Michelle Obama certainly isn’t the only female figure that has been covered up by Middle Eastern media. In 2011, images of supermodel Gisele Bündchen were digitally altered to cover the model, who was starring in a new H&M campaign. The photo alterations were made to ads running in Dubai.

Singer Mariah Carey’s outfits were also modified in Saudi Arabia where her album shots were Photoshopped to more closely align with the values of the Muslim culture.

Michelle Obama wasn’t the only thing that bothered Iranians about the Academy Awards this year. According to the Washington Post, Iranian media has also criticized the best picture of the year Argo as an unflattering portrayal of Iran.

Mehr News produced a headline criticizing Affleck’s acceptance speech. The headline read, “After distorting history, Ben Affleck continues to show a bleak picture of Iran: Iranians live in terrible circumstances.”

And The Asriran news website published remarks suggesting the film has anti-Iranian inclinations.

Though Argo, which focuses on the Iranian hostage crisis from 1979 to 1981, has not been shown in any Iranian cinema, Iranian media called the award a “political” win.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


If Washington Chose the Oscar Winners... 

VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Oscars’ official theme this year may have been music and movies, but there was also an unofficial theme — celebrities and politics.

According to, if Washington had given out Oscars, the winners might have been (slightly) different.

With a combined total of more than $3.6 million in donations to Democrats over the past 12 years, Hollywood continues its historical association with that party. Amounts of the donations vary, but many nominees across major categories contributed to Democratic political campaigns in some way.

Steven Spielberg, one of this year’s Best Director nominees for Lincoln, leads the pack with more than $2.7 million in donations from 1990 to 2012. More than half of this sum was accounted for in the last election alone — Spielberg donated a combined total of $1.1 million to Priorities USA Action, an Obama super PAC, and smaller sums to various congressional campaigns and the Democratic National Committee.

Director/producer Ben Affleck and producer George Clooney of Best Picture winner Argo have also given to Democrats. Since 1990, Clooney has donated more than $130,000, while Affleck and wife Jennifer Garner have donated $48,200 in support of Democrats in the past three presidential elections.

Newcomer to the Hollywood political scene and this year’s Best Supporting Actress winner Anne Hathaway has given $50,000 since last June  to the Obama campaign, the DNC and various Democratic state committees.

Denzel Washington and his wife, Pauletta, have also spent more than $150,000 since 2008 in support of Obama, with donations to Democratic Party committees, as well as to Obama’s presidential campaigns.

Other notable political activist nominees this year included Robert DeNiro, Sally Field, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix and Helen Hunt. None of them won.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Oscar 2013 Predictions From the ‘This Week’ Red-Carpet Roundtable

ABC(NEW YORK) -- The Oscars celebrate the best of the year in Hollywood, but Sunday night’s ceremony will also shine a spotlight on Washington and politics, with Argo, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty up for top honors.

Sunday morning on ABC’s This Week, the roundtable discussed their favorite Oscar-nominated films and the individual performances they enjoyed most this year.

Of the three politically charged films up for Best Picture, ABC News contributor George Will thinks Zero Dark Thirty should take home Oscar gold.

“It’s a genuine contribution to public education,” he said. “Sufficient reason for voting for it is a rebuke to Sens. Levin, Feinstein and McCain, who have enough to do without being movie critics and falsely accusing that movie of taking a stand on torture it does not take.”

TIME contributor Steven Brill agreed.

“Our senators ought to be dealing with the stuff we dealt with at the beginning of our discussion, not with movies,” he said.

Democratic strategist and ABC News contributor Donna Brazile chose Lincoln as her favorite flick of the year because of its historical implications.

“A year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. It was an emotional movie. It was a masterpiece,” she said.

Although the roundtable was divided in their picks for favorite film, most agreed that Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of Abraham Lincoln should earn him an Oscar at Sunday night’s awards.

“It’s magic to be able to embody a character like that,” Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel said. “You watched it and you really did think you were watching Lincoln.”

Steven Rattner, former Lead Auto Adviser and Counselor to the Treasury Secretary, noted another performance that could take top honors Sunday night.

“On the best performance, I’m actually going to get out of my comfort zone and go with Anne Hathaway in Les Mis, he said.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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