Oscar exclusion not slowing down 'Argo' director's awards run

Though Ben Affleck was notably omitted from the Academy Awards’ crop of director nominees, the “Argo” helmer has been amply vindicated this kudos season, opting for a gracious and humbled acceptance speech upon winning the Golden Globe for best director.

Affleck received a standing ovation from a roomful of his peers, including fellow nominees Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Quentin Tarantino and Kathryn Bigelow — the latter of whom was also excluded by Oscar, but in the mix for nearly every other directing award.

“I don’t care what the award is, when they put your name next to the names that she just read off, it’s an extraordinary thing in your life,” Affleck said. “These nominees are exceptional talents. I truly never thought I’d be in the same breath as them.”

The “fearless leader” of “Argo” (as described by fellow producer Grant Heslov as he accepted “Argo’s” best pic Globe) Affleck hasn’t let his Oscar omission rain on his parade. At the Critics Choice Movie Awards following the Oscar nomination announcement on Thursday, Affleck joked that he’d “like to thank the Academy” upon winning best director. “I’m kidding, I’m kidding,” he continued. “This is the one that counts.”

Affleck has found himself making multiple stops on the awards trail this year, as the DGA, National Board of Review and Broadcast Film Critics Association all took notice of either “Argo” or Affleck, who was personally nominated for three BAFTA awards. “Argo” was also named movie of the year by AFI and nominated for best ensemble by SAG.

At the Beverly Hilton, Affleck went on to thank several Warner Bros. execs, longtime WME agent Patrick Whitesell (“even when I was a little bit of trouble, he stuck with me”), scribe Chris Terrio (“a brilliant guy” and “the reason why that movie works”) and wife Jennifer Garner and their three kids.

Affleck also thanked a filmmaker who wasn’t nominated for either an Oscar or a Globe — “The Master” helmer Paul Thomas Anderson, whom Affleck compared to Orson Welles.

“Argo” was nominated for five Golden Globes, losing best score to “Life of Pi” composer Mychael Danna and a pair of awards (supporting actor and screenplay) to “Django Unchained.” With a worldwide gross of $167 million and counting, “Argo” is also a financial success for Warner Bros.

Affleck, one of three producers nominated for the best picture Oscar along with George Clooney and Grant Heslov, first earned recognition from the Academy in 1998 for co-writing “Good Will Hunting” with Matt Damon. He has survived his share of careers highs and lows, including a string of turns in critical turkeys such as “”Gigli,” “Jersey Girl” and “Surviving Christmas,” though he has rebounded to earn the respect of his industry colleagues and audiences.

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