Ben Affleck's day ended much better than it started.
Less than 12 hours after the Argo director learned he wouldn't be in the running for Best Director at the 85th Annual Academy Awards, the 40-year-old's luck turned around at the 18th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards in Santa Monica, Calif., Jan. 10.
Presenter Ray Liotta was the one to deliver the happy news: Affleck had been named Best Director! When the camera panned to the married father of three, his jaw dropped as he looked around the room and realized the star-studded audience was on their feet cheering for him.
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After hugging Bradley Cooper and George Clooney, Jennifer Garner's husband made his way to the stage to collect his statuette. "Thank you very much," Affleck said. "I would like to thank the Academy . . . I'm kidding, I'm kidding! This is the one that counts."
"I do want to thank the Broadcast Film Critics Association. It actually is very, very cool for me. There was a time where the Ben Affleck Critics' Award was a Saturday Night Live sketch, so this is a very, very cool and exciting thing, particularly to me, because there are so many unbelievable directors in this category who I can only look up to, and so many who didn't get nominated, and I'm really humbled by that. Can we give a round applause for the directors?
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Affleck beat out more seasoned directors Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Tom Hooper (Les Miserables), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) and Steven Spielberg (Lincoln).
The award winner then thanked the film's producers, his agent and Warner Bros., among others. "My daughter wrote my name on my hand for luck. I don't know how that works, but I guess it worked, so you can look forward to seeing more of this!" Affleck added. "I want to thank my kids and I want to thank my wife, without whom I would not be anywhere, much less here. Thank you very much."
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Later in the evening, Affleck received more good news: Argo was named Best Picture, beating out Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, The Master, Moonrise Kingom, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty.
"We want to thank our fearless leader, Ben Affleck. This film doesn't happen without Ben," producer Grant Heslov said. "He took a beautiful script and turned it into an unbelievable film, so for that we're very grateful."