By John Horn
10:56 PM CST, February 24, 2013
Ben Affleck may have been snubbed for directing it, but "Argo" certainly wasn't slighted at the Academy Awards, winning best picture in Sunday night's ceremony.
In beating Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" for the top Oscar honor in the 85th annual ceremony, "Argo" became the first movie since 1989's "Driving Miss Daisy" to collect the best picture statuette without its director being nominated for making it. Although "Argo's" win was not a surprise, the introduction of the best picture by First Lady Michelle Obama was unexpected.
Inspired by -- but taking dramatic liberties with -- a true story, "Argo" stars Affleck as CIA agent Tony Mendez, who orchestrates the rescue of six Americans hiding in Iran after the 1979 takeover of the American embassy.
The escape plot hinges on the creation of a fake movie crew and bogus film, the latter of which is called "Argo."
The film also won Oscars for editing and adapted screenplay.
Produced by Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov, "Argo's" Oscar chances appeared to have been undermined when Affleck wasn't nominated for directing the thriller.
But the snub may have been the best thing that could have happened for the film's awards chances, as voter sentiment seemed to swing heavily in "Argo's" favor, and away from "Lincoln," in the critics and guild awards that immediately followed.
"Argo" came into the Oscars with seven nominations. It had taken home the Golden Globe for best drama, and the Screen Actors Guild award for outstanding cast in a motion picture. It also won the BAFTA for best film, and collected the top prizes from the Directors Guild of America and the Producers Guild of America.