Just 10 years ago the name 'Ben Affleck' was literally a joke in the Hollywood circle.
Movies like 'Gigli', 'Daredevil' and many other mediocre ones made even his Oscar win (Best Original Screenplay – Co-wrote Good Will Hunting with Matt Damon) in 1997 look like a fluke. His association with Kevin Smith (Mallrats, Dogma, Chasing Amy) sure made him notice to a certain extent but it also made him look like just-another “pretty boy” with nothing extra-ordinary to offer.
His alcohol addiction came to light sometime in 2001, following which he entered rehab. Now this was something that the Paparazzi just loved and he soon became the poster-boy for everything negative.
En route to Hell, he later publicly announced his relationship with Jennifer Lopez, whom he had met during the shoot of ‘Gigli’ ( I so badly wish Time travel was for Real. We could have avoided so many things – Holocaust , World Wars & ‘Bennifer’).
Soon after losing his ‘Unlucky’ charm (Read: Ms Lopez), he tried his level best to get his career back on track but 2002-2005 was seriously one hell of a shitty period for him and then in late 2006 ‘Hollywoodland’ happened. His supporting role was nominated for quite a few awards but most importantly he got appreciated by the critics and audience alike.
And then in late 2007, he co-wrote, produced and directed his debut film. A brilliant crime-thriller 'Gone Baby Gone' (Based on a novel of same name by Dennis Lehane). The plot centered around two private investigators, hunting for an abducted four-year-old girl from the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. The film appeared on 65 critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2007 with Amy Ryan getting herself her 1st Academy nomination in ‘Best Supporting Actress’ category.
His 2nd directorial outing was ‘The Town’ in 2010, adapted from Chuck Hogan's novel Prince of Thieves. He co-wrote the screenplay along with Peter Craig & Aaron Stockard. This one centered around 4 lifelong friends from the Boston neighborhood of Charlestown who decide to rob a bank.
You know just as Martin Scorsese knows anything & everything about New York street life, this guy knows Boston inside-out.
The world of glamorized but unattractive, swearing, sweat-suit wearing real life people. Both ‘Gone Baby Gone’ & ‘The Town’ showed us, exactly that.
And in 2012, he came out with 'Argo'. A thriller based on an article published in 2007,in which Tony Mendez, a CIA operative, led the rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Iran, during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.
A gripping dramatization of the now famous joint covert rescue operation pulled off by the Canadian govt. and the CIA known as the "Canadian Caper". The "Caper" involved CIA agent Mendez joining the six diplomats to form a fake film crew who were in Tehran as part of location scouting to shoot a scene for the notional sci-fi film Argo.
I know some might find the film thematically flat or dramatically manipulative and people are free to their opinion. But I would still say that we need more films like "Argo," mid-budget dramas that don't bog down in brand appeal and find an audience rather than the overtly commercial productions that just yield safe and soon fade away.
Affleck's story these last few years has been an inspiring one. He has climbed out of that pit tooth and nail and shown real chops in the process. To see him take the stage on Oscar night as part of the Best Picture-winning "Argo" crew, hopping over this last hurdle in the Best Director category, would just be the ultimate climax on this journey. Speaking personally, it would just register more as an Oscar win than any other film in the category.
Those are the moments I like at the Oscars. Objectivity on quality has to go out the window. We all like what we like and think this or that should win for a reason. But, objectively, Ben Affleck deserves this leg up. He's earned it.
ARGO : Has been nominated for 7 Bafta's and 7 Oscars which includes Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay (Chris Terrio) and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Alan Arkin)
It has already won : Best Director (Ben Affleck) & Best Motion Picture - Drama at the Golden Globes and the same at the Critics Choice Awards.
As of 10th Feb-2013, it has won 44 Awards in total.