Ben Affleck was the picture of bliss when he came backstage at the Academy Awards to talk to the press, fresh off of being one of the Oscar winners with his Best Picture victory for Argo.
Although Affleck has been quite diplomatic in terms of his Best Director nomination snub thus far during awards season, backstage, with Oscar firmly in hand, he addressed the issue a little more head on. “That's a crime, folks. Honestly, you know how I feel about that? Naturally I was disappointed, and a lot of people said that this is something that's going to happen," Affleck admitted.
Yet, he said, when you think about the helmers who made great films this year that also were not honored, Affleck felt less alone.
"When I look at the directors who weren't nominated as well -- Paul Thomas Anderson, Kathryn Bigelow, Tom Hooper and Quentin Tarantino -- these are all directors who I admire enormously. It was a very tough year,” Affleck said. “I was on the bench. You're not entitled to anything. 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."
An added bonus for the newly minted Oscar winner was the involvement of First Lady Michelle Obama in awarding the statue.
“I was sort of hallucinating when that was happening. In the course of hallucination, it doesn't seem that odd. Look, it's Michelle Obama! But that was a natural feeling, because the whole thing is so unnatural,” Affleck said.
“Honestly, I was just asking these two guys outside, was that Michelle Obama? 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 by service men and women was special and I thought appropriate."
As shown in the Argo trailer, the story centers on the selfless act of a CIA agent who orchestrated a fake movie -- with Hollywood's help -- in order to free six Americans who escaped the U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran. Making the true life tale, Affleck garnered an affection for those who work tirelessly, and often anonymously, for the rest of us in America.
“All of us, a tremendous respect for what the Foreign Service sacrifices and goes through and that we, I think, gained further appreciation for that as we shot the movie and visited the State Department,” Affleck said.
“I know Secretary Clinton a little bit and Secretary Kerry a little bit better. I've really picked up an appreciation for what the State Department does, what our Foreign Service does, what they sacrifice."
Before letting him go, we asked about his thoughts on increasing the tension in Argo fictitiously. “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. It's not an easy thing to do. You try to honor the truth of the essence, the sort of basic truth of the story that you're telling,” Affleck said.
“I'm really proud of the movie, I'm proud of the people that worked on the movie. The story that we were telling was true and that we told was true.”
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