By Art Holliday
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - "My wife and I, we had a little Oscar party at the house." The party at Rocky Sickmann's house was a little different than most. He and his wife were actively rooting for Argo to win Best Picture, because they have a special connection to the real life story and the film.
"I was really excited and I really wanted Ben (Affleck) and the whole team to win that," said Sickman.
Rocky Sickman, who lives in St. Louis, was a U.S. Marine in 1979, stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, when he was among 52 hostages taken. Sickmann and the other hostages were held captive for 444 days.
Argo tells the story of how six Americans at the embassy escaped Iran with the help of Canadian officials and a CIA plan involving a fake movie. Last year, a chance conversation Sickman had at a wedding led to Argo director Ben Affleck inviting Rocky and his son Spencer, an acting student, to the set while the movie was being made, as well as the red carpet premier.
Affleck hired Spencer to work as an extra who appeared briefly in one of the movie scenes.
"We got lucky and next thing I know I'm getting to experience the red carpet and meeting Ben Affleck," said Spencer Sickmann from Los Angeles where he's in acting school. "Just a wonderful, wonderful opportunity that I never thought would be given to me."
"His first movie was an Oscar winner," said Rocky Sickman. "You can't be any better than that. It was fantastic."
While the movie had a happy ending, with the six Americans being rescued from Iran, 52 other hostages, including Marine Sgt Rocky Sickman were held captive for 444 days.
"I truly believe if you ask the other hostages, the war on terror started November 4, 1979," Sickman said.
Now a Best Picture Oscar is shining a spotlight on what happened 32 years ago in Iran. Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley plans to reintroduce legislation to create a $400 million fund to compensate the hostages. Sickmann remains skeptical.
"I'll believe it when I see it," Sickman said.
There are 69 co-sponsors to Braley's bill, including Missouri Congressmen Todd Akin and Blaine Luetkemeyer, and Illinois Congressman John Shimkus.