Ben Affleck’s Oscar snub for Best Director and Best Actor nominations for “Argo” was nearly a decade ago, but it’s one he never forgot. At the time, despite trying to downplay it in red carpet interviews in the days that followed, Affleck was very sore about it. And the bruise still remains.
“We had Editing, Score, Picture. The only guy who f—ed up was the lead and the director? I can do the math on who the asshole is here,” Affleck said in an interview with Howard Stern on Thursday in which he discussed how he went on an intensive awards campaign with Warner Bros. to get the nominations.
“I did everything they told me. They told me, ‘You got to kiss the babies.’ And I schmoozed everybody in the world right. Part of this [is] because you’re the director, but truth is, I wanted it,” he said. “And then, and everybody told me, ‘Oh you’re gonna win.’ It wasn’t, ‘You’re going to be nominated.’ It was, ‘You’re a lock.’ So of course I get up that morning, go sit in front of the TV. And I did assume I was gonna get nominated. You know what, because everybody said I would. So all these people must know.”
But it didn’t happen. An all-star quintet ousted Affleck in the Best Actor category: Denzel Washington (“Flight,” Joaquin Phoenix (“The Master”), Hugh Jackman (“Les Miserables”), Bradley Cooper (“Silver Linings Playbook”) and eventual winner Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln”). And in the director category, veteran filmmakers Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”), Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”), Michael Haneke (“Amour”) and David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”) were nominated; while the last spot went not to Affleck for his third turn as director but to newcomer Benh Zeitlin for “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”
“First thing I did was call up the Warner Bros. people, who worked really hard, who really wanted it for me, and I said, ‘Guys, I think you know I’m done. I’m never going to do it again. No handshaking. I don’t give a f—,’” Affleck recalled.
“That day, I had to go to the f—ing Critics Choice Awards, which has, if my memory is correct, the single longest f—ing red carpet in humanity,” he continued. “Every single stop, you don’t even have to say anything, they just hold the mic and they say, ‘So, snubbed?’ You have to pretend that you’re OK, pretend it didn’t bother you, because god forbid something bothered you.”
As it turned out, Affleck’s double snub completely changed the awards race, clearing the way for “Argo” to win Best Picture and for Affleck to stand on stage at the end of the night with an Oscar as a producer for the film with Grant Zeslov and George Clooney.
Watch Affleck and Stern discuss the Oscar snub in the clip above.