With the Oscars fast approach we decided to look at two films in the Best Picture category to see how historically accurate they are. While many of the films in this category have historical inaccuracies they are minor compared to our chosen films.
Argo has three major historical inaccuracies. The film claims Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi been Shah (or Shahanshah which is a title given to Kings of Iran) since he was placed in power by the 1953 Iranian coup d’état. In reality he had been Shah since 1941 when Iran was still a constitutional monarchy. The 1953 coup d’état had overthrown the Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh and the elected government and gave Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi ultimate power. The film also claimed that the Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh had been voted in by the Iranian populous. However the Prime Minister was actually voted in by members of Parliament.
The second inaccuracy was the down play of Canada’s, the UK’s and New Zealand’s roles in the rescue of the American diplomats. Some Canadian critics were not impressed that the role of the Canadian Government and their Ambassadors was reduced and America’s increased. The truth was that they were on more of an equal level. Also angry at their depiction was the UK and New Zealand diplomats. The film claimed that they dismissed the refugees but in reality they both helped out as much as they could (New Zealand offered a safe house for the American diplomats, food and entertainment at the Canadian Embassy and also drove them to the airport. The British embassy originally took in the diplomats however it was decided that it was still not safe enough for them and moved them to the Canadian Embassy).
The last inaccuracy was the trip to the bazaar, the confrontation at the airport and runway chase at the end of the movie. It never happened but that wouldn’t make for an interesting or exciting ending! 
Django Unchained has two major historical inaccuracies. In the film, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, the plantation owner Calvin Candie, enjoys Mandingo fighting (forcing slaves to fight to the death). However Mandingo Fights are just rumours. For one it was illegal to kill a slave or to give them cruel punishments at the time the film is depicted in. Secondly, slaves were expensive to buy so killing them would not be financially prudent for a plantation owner! The second inaccuracy is the feature of a Ku Klux Klan like type group. The Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1865; seven years after the time the film took place and no other known group existed before that date. 
These changes bring up many questions. Would the real history be too boring for audiences? If they weren’t were the changes necessary? Is that something that will affect the Academy voter’s choice too? Is it important for an Oscar winning film to be historically accurate? We won’t find out some of those answers till this Sunday but we can shoot the breeze about the two films and past and present nominated films in the discussion until we find out!