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Academy Awards

Actor’s gratitude pleases former Canadian envoy

The former Canadian ambassador to Iran who protected Americans at great personal risk during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis said Monday it was good to hear Ben Affleck thank Canada after Affleck’s film “Argo” won the Oscar for best picture.

“Argo” came under criticism from some Canadians, including former ambassador Ken Taylor, who said he felt slighted by the movie because it makes Canada look like a meek observer to CIA heroics. Taylor says it minimizes Canada’s role in the Americans’ rescue.

Taylor criticized Affleck on Friday and said he hoped Affleck would acknowledge Canada’s role. Affleck briefly thanked Canada in his acceptance speech Sunday.

Iranian officials slam ‘Argo’ win

Iranian officials on Monday dismissed the Oscar-winning film “Argo” as pro-CIA, anti-Iran propaganda, but some young, moderate Iranians welcomed it as a fresh view of recent history.

The movie, based on the escape of six American hostages from the besieged U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, has not been screened in any Iranian theaters.

But many Iranians have seen it nevertheless. In downtown Tehran, bootleg DVDs of “Argo” sell for about 30,000 rials, or less than $1.

Viewership rises; Oscars No. 1 again

The Oscars telecast was seen by 40.3 million people, a slight increase over last year’s show.

The Nielsen Company said Monday it was the most-watched Oscars telecast in three years.

Last year’s show, when “The Artist” won best picture, had an audience of 39.3 million people. After bringing in “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane as host this year, ABC saw an 11 percent ratings boost over 2012 among viewers ages 18 to 49 years old.

The Oscars regained its traditional status as most-watched awards show, after the Grammy Awards topped it last year

Taiwanese president applauds Ang Lee

A second Academy Award for best director has thrust Taiwan native Ang Lee into the top ranks of world film-makers and made him a national hero on this diplomatically isolated island.

Lee’s victory at Hollywood’s annual Oscar extravaganza on Sunday for the fantasy epic “Life of Pi” followed his 2005 directorial win for “Brokeback Mountain.”

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou saw Lee’s triumph as at least a temporary reversal of those fortunes, thanking Lee for “pushing Taiwan toward the world.”

“Taiwanese are proud of you,” Ma said in a congratulatory message.

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