February 26, 2013

The CIA Oscars

Ed Rampell, Progressive - The three top professions that specialize in “make believe” -- Hollywood, intelligence agencies and the Executive Branch -- collided Sunday at the Dolby Theatre as the president’s wife announced that the pro-CIA agitprop movie “Argo” won the Best Picture Oscar.

The First Lady’s odd, historically unprecedented intrusion into what is supposed to be an entertainment event during one of the most-watched telecasts of the year came as the Senate was considering Pres. Obama’s nominee for the CIA.

The awards ceremony celebrated cinematic espionage in a number of other ways. There was a long homage to James Bond, depicting 007’s daring-do and the virile, handsome stars from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, who have played the supposedly suave British secret agent for five decades.

The tribute was capped by 76-year-old Shirley Bassey reprising live the famous theme song for 1964’s “Goldfinger.” The British singer Adele went on to belt out her hit from the latest Bond flick, “Skyfall,” for which she also won the golden statuette for Best Original Song.

One of the Oscar ceremony’s other award presenters was Jennifer Garner, who from 2001-2006 portrayed spy Sydney Bristow on the TV series “Alias.” Garner also appeared in a recruiting ad for the Central Intelligence Agency around the time the CIA was involved in falsifying disinformation about Iraq’s fictitious WMDs. During her husband Ben Affleck’s Best Picture acceptance speech, he acknowledged his wife and the camera cut to Garner, the TV spy who loved him.

“Argo” also won in other Oscar categories, including Film Editing and Adapted Screenplay. Never mind that the tense inter-cutting between those Iranian Revolutionary Guards chasing that Swiss Air flight down the airport tarmac in a well-written scene is a flight of fancy concocted by screenwriter Chris Terrio.

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