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With the majority of his post-"Armaggedon" leading-man vehicles underperforming or outright flopping at the box-office ("Bounce," "Reindeer Games," "Gigli," "Paycheck"...need I go on?), Ben Affleck's Hollywood career was more or less circling the drain before he shocked everyone by co-writing and directing "Gone Baby Gone," a critically-acclaimed crime thriller that netted the first-time helmer honors from multiple critical societies, including the National Board of Review. If that effort firmly established him as a filmmaking talent to watch, 2010's "The Town" was what served as Affleck's big mainstream breakthrough, grossing over $150 million worldwide on a $37 million budget while maintaining the critical standing he'd established with his debut. With his next film "Argo" having gathered a full head of steam coming out of Toronto (it just missed out on winning the festival's coveted People's Choice Award), the former "Gigli" punching bag now may even be looking at his second Oscar nomination (or even third, if he manages to nab an acting nod as well). Talk about a turnaround.
- Chris Eggertsen