What is it? A based-on-a-true-story historical thriller telling the tale of CIA agent Tony Mendez's (Ben Affleck) bonkers-sounding scheme to rescue six US embassy officials from their hideout in post-revolution Iran. Said bonkers-sounding scheme involves the officials pretending to be a film crew location scouting for a copycat Star Wars movie called – you guessed it – Argo.
Why did it win? Much like those who derided The Artist for being too self-congratulatory, cynics say Argo's another case of Hollywood patting itself on the back, but it's much more than that: as well as giving audiences a thrilling spy adventure, it also shines a light on an oft-ignored part of history still very relevant to today's international politics. Then there's the Oscar-friendly cast, including its in-from-the-cold director/producer/lead to scene-stealing veterans like John Goodman and Alan Arkin.
Did it deserve to win? Considering it was up against such Oscar-friendly fodder as Lincoln (biopic) or Life Of Pi (literary adaptation) and Silver Linings Playbook (mental illness), this popcorn-friendly thriller had just enough history in the mix to see it through. Interestingly, though it had the all-important Best Editing nomination – which it went on to win – it didn't have a Best Direction nod, with that category eventually going to Ang Lee for Life Of Pi.
Worth a look? Very much so. Where certain Academy Award winners go heavy on the worthiness and light on the watchability – we're looking at you, The Last Emperor – this manages both in a one-two punch that saw it bring in $100 million plus in the box office.