The Best Picture Oscar awarded to Argo over its chief competitor Lincoln represents another triumph for Hollywood’s liberal values. This is not a question of political favoritism: the directors, writers and producers of both films are all enthusiastic Democrats.
But Lincoln celebrated a uniquely heroic moment in American history—the final abolition of slavery—while Argo portrayed a deeply embarrassing episode: the Iran hostage crisis and the rescue of a few embassy employees through the intervention of kindly Canadians and Hollywood scam artists.
Finally, Steven Spielberg is the ultimate one-percenter, with two prior Best Director Oscars and a parade of commercial hits, while Ben Affleck is a once-reviled actor who didn’t even get nominated for Best Director for Argo. In giving the award to the less impressive achievement, the Academy tried to compensate in a classic spread-the-wealth gesture.