Ben Affleck on 'Big' 2013 Oscars Snub for Directing 'Argo' : 'You Gotta Pretend That You're OK'

Ben Affleck looks back on Argo winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards and what it was like being left off the Best Director category after being told he was a "lock" to win

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Ben Affleck is getting honest about his Oscars snub.

In a wide-ranging conversation on The Howard Stern Show earlier this week, Affleck recalled winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards in 2013 for his film Argo, which he directed and starred in. The 49-year-old (who had won Best Original Screenplay in 1997 for writing Good Will Hunting with pal Matt Damon) said it was the "single most self-satisfying moment."

"Because for so long I felt like, 'I gotta prove I belong here; I gotta show these people, I gotta tell these people. I gotta prove it, I gotta prove that I mean something, that I'm worth something.' And 15 years after Good Will Hunting, and a lot of years in the s----er and a lot of f-----g tabloids and bulls---, I didn't even think we were gonna win. I'll tell you what, it was much more meaningful."

"I knew if I would've held onto that bitterness I wouldn't have gotten there," he added. "I was happy, and I felt like, 'OK, enough. Enough.' "

Argo was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Supporting Actor (Alan Arkin), Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing. On top of Best Picture, it also won Best Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay. Affleck was not nominated for Best Director that year, which Stern asked him about.

The directing nominees that year were: Michael Haneke for Amour, Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild, Ang Lee for Life of Pi, Steven Spielberg for Lincoln and David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook. Lee ended up winning.

Said Affleck, "It was 'the big snub,' right? And that taught me a lot, because I did everything they told me. You gotta kiss the babies, and I schmooze every f---ing body in the world. Part of it is because you're the director and you wanna do it, but the truth is part of it is 'cause I wanted it."

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"Most people, I think, if they say that they don't [want an Oscar] are probably not totally honest," he continued, adding, "And everybody told me, 'Oh, you're gonna win.' It wasn't 'You're gonna be nominated,' it was 'You're a lock!' "

He recalled watching the nominations that morning and feeling disappointed his name wasn't listed in the directing category. Affleck said he told studio executives he would "never" do the awards season "ass-kissing" ever again.

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"Maybe I didn't deserve it. If the directors don't think I deserved it, that's their opinion. And that's fine," he said of the Academy voters that year. "I'm proud of the movie. ... But they made sure to leave me out."

"And that day, I had to go to the f---ing Critics Choice Awards, which has, if my memory's correct, the single longest f---ing red carpet in humanity, and every single stop, you didn't even have to say anything, they'd just hold the mic and go, 'So, snubbed?' And you gotta pretend that you're OK, pretend it didn't bother you because God forbid something bother you."

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Affleck said he went into the Critics Choice Awards that year and "got hammered," but then unexpectedly won for best director. In his speech, he joked, "I would like to thank the Academy. I'm kidding, I'm kidding. This is the one that counts."

He recalled of the jab at the Oscars: "I just didn't give a f--- anymore."

Argo turned out to sweep many awards shows that year. Affleck explained of their Best Picture win at the Oscars, "I am glad we won Picture, obviously it meant something to me. But it was like, I'm not gonna make this my metric anymore."

Affleck has also directed Gone Baby Gone (2007), The Town (2010) and Live By Night (2016). Earlier this week, Affleck received a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actor for his performance in The Tender Bar, which is in select theaters Dec. 17, nationwide Dec. 22, then streaming on Amazon Prime Video Jan. 7.

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