Ben's like, "You think anyone realizes we referenced the wrong Buckhead and said some guy who wasn't even married yet had kids in a school there?" And Jen's like "Pfffftt please you're about to win Best Picture; only a tedious blogger from Atlanta would pick up on all that." Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Following “Argo’s” best-picture triumph at the Oscars Sunday night, the Buckhead Coalition president was eager to note the small but key role his community played in the movie.
“There could be many ways to earn best-picture designation, but none more significant in our eyes than the mention of Buckhead in the dialogue,” Massell said.
The movie, which Ben Affleck directed and starred in, is about the fake movie project Hollywood and the CIA cooked up as a front for spiriting American hostages out of Iran following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. In one scene, operatives are desperate to lure President Jimmy Carter’s chief of staff, Hamilton Jordan, out of a meeting. They trick him onto the phone by claiming the headmaster of his children’s school, Pace Academy “in Buckhead, Ga.” was calling.
Well. Soon after the movie was released last year we heard from a number of residents chuckling at the gaffe. The tiny Morgan County town of Buckhead, 90 minutes east of Atlanta, is home to fewer than 200 residents, according to the Georgia Municipal Association. A far piece from the Buckhead the “Argo” characters were talking about.
The always charming Massell was quick to forgive.
“How insightful of the CIA operative in ‘Argo’ to think of one of our fine private schools as a possible entrée to Hamilton Jordan,” the former Atlanta mayor complimented in his typically upbeat manner.
Um. About that. Jordan would have had no reason to answer a call from any headmaster in 1979. According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, he didn’t marry Dorothy Henry, mother of his three children, until 1981.
But Massell, always the optimist, sees only upside.
“Many millions more will now hear this strange name for the first time” as a result of the wayward “Argo” mention, Massell said. “The inquisitive will go straight to Google and learn some of the reasons we continue to grow both in population and prosperity.”