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Ben Affleck poses with his award for best picture for Argo during at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (John Shearer/AP)
Ben Affleck poses with his award for best picture for Argo during at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (John Shearer/AP)

Why Ben Affleck’s stock is rising as Anne Hathaway’s slips Add to ...

While Anne Hathaway slides in public opinion, Ben Affleck’s image is on the opposite trajectory.

Only a few years ago, after a series of unremarkable films (remember the widely panned Gigli?), Affleck was one of Hollywood’s easiest targets. As GQ noted in a recent interview with the actor, Affleck developed the reputation for being the less talented of the Good Will Hunting duo, overshadowed by his friend Matt Damon’s comparative success.

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A particularly cutting remark made during that low point in Affleck’s career, which GQ highlighted, came from the Boston Globe: “It is fashionable at the moment to loathe Ben Affleck. To be honest, the guy makes it easy.”

But having acted, directed and produced his film Argo, Affleck is once again feeling the love.

As The Huffington Post put it: “Ben Affleck’s redemption by Hollywood is complete,” after Argo won the award for best picture last night.

In his acceptance speech, he came across as sincere, grateful and humble, thanking everyone involved in the movie – including Canada. (One beef, that The Globe’s Dave McGinn pointed out, was his failure to mention by name former ambassador to Iran Ken Taylor, a central figure in the real-life story upon which Argo was based.)

Perhaps the most poignant part of Affleck’s speech was his reflection on the rocky road that brought him back to the Academy podium after his early Good Will Hunting victory.

“I’d just like to say, I was here 15 years ago or something and I had no idea what I was doing. I stood out here in front of you all and really just a kid. I went out and I never thought I would be back here,” he said.

Hinting at the subsequent hard knocks he took, he went on to add: “You can’t hold grudges. It’s hard but you can’t hold grudges. And it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life because that’s going to happen. All that matters is you gotta get up.”

If Anne Hathaway experiences the same post-Oscar slump that Affleck once did, she’d be wise to take his advice.

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