Ben Affleck admires other snubbed directors

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck at an Oscar after-party Sunday.
pascal le segretain/GETTY IMAGES
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck at an Oscar after-party Sunday.

That “Argo” won for best picture makes it even more upsetting that Ben Affleck didn’t get a nomination for best director, right?

Wrong. At least according to Affleck himself, who was gracious to a fault during a post-Oscars press conference with reporters.

Asked about the snub, he acknowledged he was initially disappointed, mostly because so many people told him he would be nominated.


“But when I look at the people who weren’t nominated as well, Paul Thomas Anderson and Kathryn Bigelow — just amazing,” said Affleck, who was joined by his fellow “Argo” producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov. “Tom Hooper and Quentin Tarantino, these are all directors who I admire enormously. So, it was a very tough year.”

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“You’re glad you weren’t nominated,” said Heslov.

“You know what, you’re not entitled to anything,” replied Affleck. “I’m honored to be here. I’m honored to be among these extraordinary movies, and I’m really, really honored to win an Academy Award. So this is not [something] I’ve spent a lot of time second-guessing or worrying about.”

Affleck was also asked about claims that “Argo,” while an entertaining tale of international intrigue, isn’t historically accurate. In particular, the film implies that New Zealand didn’t help the Americans trying to escape from Iran, and gives President Carter’s chief of staff Hamilton Jordan children when he had none.

“Let me start by saying I love New Zealand and I love New Zealanders. And I’m tempted to end there,” said Affleck. “I think that it’s tricky, you walk a fine line. You do a historical movie, naturally you have to make some creative choices about how you’re going to condense it into a three-act structure. . . . You try to honor the truth of the essence, the sort of basic truth of the story that you’re telling. . . . It’s not an easy thing, but it’s, I think, constructed as well as it could possibly be. But the complete credit goes to [screenwriter] Chris Terrio rather than me.”


Or maybe he means fault?

Finally, we found it a little odd that first lady Michelle Obama appeared via satellite from the White House to award the Oscar for best picture. But Affleck was clearly delighted — and a little disoriented.

“I was sort of hallucinating when that was happening,” Affleck told reporters. “Oh, look, a purple elephant, you know, Michelle Obama. But it’s natural because the whole thing is so unnatural. . . . The whole thing kind of alarmed me at the time, but in retrospect, the fact that it was the first lady was an enormous honor and the fact that she surrounded herself [with] servicemen and -women was special and I thought appropriate.”

Next up for the Oscar winner is a biopic of James “Whitey” Bulger, which is apparently still in the works even though a competing project starring Johnny Depp as the Boston gangster has been announced.

Affleck did raise a few eyebrows during his acceptance when he thanked his wife, Jennifer Garner, for “working on our marriage for 10 Christmases.” Oh, relax, they’re fine. Earlier in the day, the couple was at a rec center in Los Angeles watching daughter Violet compete in a spelling bee (which she won).


“I was more nervous at the spelling bee than I am now,” Affleck told Ryan Seacrest on his way into the awards ceremony. “There were a lot of words. Let me tell you something: You and me might have been in trouble. We belong in the stands.”