Matt Damon vs. Ben Affleck: Who wins, then and now?

05 Oct 2014 11:53
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Ever since they wrote Good Will Hunting 18 years ago, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have been one of Hollywood's most well-known bromances. But no bromance is complete without some healthy competition, which is why we've gone back through the years since their first Oscar win and looked at their careers.
With Samantha Highfill representing Matt Damon in one corner, and Joshua Rivera representing Ben Affleck in the other, here's how the fight breaks down:
Affleck: Good Will HuntingBen Affleck doesn't have to get nominated for an acting Oscar to have both the movie's funniest scene and its most affecting one (non-Robin Williams division). But hey, they're both pretty adorable during that Oscar win.
Damon rebuttal: Tell that to the Academy.Affleck rebuttal: Remember when the Academy voted for Crash?
1998 Damon: Saving Private Ryan Damon might not have had a lot of screen time, but he was good enough to earn the titular role of Private Ryan in Saving Private Ryan, so what else is there to say?
Affleck: Armageddon and Shakespeare in LoveBen Affleck, meanwhile, got loads of screen time in Armageddon, which is great, but Shakespeare in Love is Affleck's ace in the hole this year. In a hilarious turn as Ned Alleyn, Affleck is a total scene stealer, playing what he describes as an Elizabethan Tom Cruise. It's hard to top that one.

Golden Globe, Schmolden Schlobe. As the fallen angel Bartleby, Affleck really gets to cut loose in Dogma, having the time of his life in a villainous role.
Damon rebuttal: Damon was also in Dogma, and only losers say "Schmolden Schlobe."Affleck rebuttal: '99 was a weird time for all of us
2000 Damon: Finding Forrester While Affleck made the hit film, Bounce, Damon teamed up with Gus Van Sant and Sean Connery for Finding Forrester, before starring in the Golden Globe-nominated All the Pretty Horses, which paired Damon up with Penelope Cruz and director Billy Bob Thornton. You might not remember it, but all the awards do.
Affleck: Bounce and Reindeer GamesWhile Damon was busy trying very hard to be a romantic lead, Affleck spent the Willennium just having a blast-which is a million times better than Finding Forrester, because man, was that movie a drag.
2001 Damon: Ocean's Eleven Both Damon and Affleck showed their lighter side on Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, but in terms of drama, let's just say that Affleck spent his time on Pearl Harbor while Damon helped launched a hit trilogy with Ocean's Eleven. Also, this is approximately the time when Brad Pitt and George Clooney began campaigning for Damon to win People 's Sexiest Man Alive. And yes, cool friends do make someone cooler. This is Hollywood, after all.
It's easy to knock Pearl Harbor now, but come on, really think back. There wasn't a single person not thinking about Pearl Harbor, which turned Affleck into a bona fide, all-ages heartthrob. No one watched Ocean's Eleven for the Matt Damon parts. Also, Ben met Jennifer Garner on this film, which will be important later.
Affleck: Named People's Sexiest Man Alive Suck it, Damon.
2003 Damon: Stuck on You Sure, you can focus on Damon's slight misstep with Stuck On You, or you can realize that not only did he meet his wife on that film, but he was also filming The Bourne Supremacy that year. Make fun of Jason Bourne and see what happens.
Affleck: Daredevil and 'Jenny from the Block'We only hate Daredevil now because we know how much better superhero movies can be. And I hear the Director's Cut is actually much better. Affleck didn't really do anything great this year, but for all its ridiculousness (and these are the dark ages) the music video to Jennifer Lopez's (or as I call her, Ben's Yoko) "Jenny from the Block" is such a great, Taylor Swift-ian middle finger to the haters. And let me tell you, a lot of dudes wanted to be Ben Affleck in 2003.
Damon rebuttal: [Cough, Gigli, cough]Affleck rebuttal: Could Matt Damon have had a more boring year?
2004 Damon: The Bourne Supremacy, Ocean's Twelve Damon's hard work paid off when The Bourne Supremacy hit theaters, right alongside Ocean's Twelve. And when he wasn't busy breaking the box office, Damon remained a good friend, agreeing to take a role that was so far beneath him to help out Affleck by appearing as PR Exec #2 in Jersey Girl. But don't worry, nobody cared about Affleck's film, and like a phoenix, Jason Bourne would rise again.
Affleck: Jersey Girl is kind of sweet?Like touching? Maybe? Also Ben gets to meet James Gandolfini in Surviving Christmas which is pretty dope. Remember how you just read about Matt Damon starring in Stuck on You?
Affleck: Marries Jennifer GarnerHey, nothing wrong with taking a year off. Besides, no one saw Syriana.
2006 Damon: The Departed, The Good Shepherd Matt Damon might've been in the Oscar-nominated The Good Shepherd, but this year was all about The Departed. You know, the best picture of the year. Proof of Damon's stardom: This year launched the Jimmy Kimmel-Matt Damon saga.
Affleck: HollywoodlandThe big comeback. Affleck was critically acclaimed for his role as Adventures in Superman actor George Reeves, netting him a Golden Globe nomination and the Venice Film Festival's Volpi Cup. He also got lots of apologies from critics who wrote him off.
Damon rebuttal: But, The Departed.Affleck rebuttal: …was totally DiCaprio's movie.
Affleck: Gone Baby GoneHere's one thing Damon still can't call himself: critically acclaimed director. Affleck's directorial debut is masterful, morally complex, and proof that Ben has a much cooler sibling than Matt-who, by the way, is just coasting on Bourne and Ocean's stuff at this point.
2008 Damon: Ponyo Damon showed his versatility by taking some time out to do a critically acclaimed children's film in between his travels around the country campaigning for Barack Obama's first presidential campaign. Also, Sarah Silverman sang this song about him.
Affleck: Wins poker for charity, also rocks at SNLNot content to just do a victory lap following the success of Gone Baby Gone, Ben goes on to win a poker tournament for charity. This is also a good time to mention his incessant charitable endeavors and activism-something Matt does too, but probably learned about form Affleck. Oh, and there's also his fantastic appearance on Saturday Night Live (watch it here if you're a Hulu Plus subscriber) in which he's not only a part of the very first Stefon sketch, but stars in a hilarious segment impersonating Keith Olbermann.
Affleck: State of Play and Proving that he's still a versatile actor, Affleck stars in both the extremely well-received political thriller State of Play, and the oddball comedy Extract. Also, if you thought that song Damon sang with Sarah Silverman was great, just wait til you see the one Affleck sang with….everyone.
Affleck: The Town Pretty much the year we decided that showering praise on movies directed by Ben Affleck was going to be a regular thing.
2011 Damon: Adjustment Bureau, Contagion, We Bought a Zoo, SNL This year, Damon starred in the SAG-nominated Adjustment Bureau, along with the not-great-but-not-embarrassing films Contagion and We Bought a Zoo. But his shining achievement was hosting SNL.
Affleck: Victory lap part deuxWhile soaking in all the adulation from The Town, Affleck and Garner have their second child. But he doesn't rest easy-this year saw Ben winning the Chairman's award in the Palm Springs International Film Festival and really focusing on his political activism, testifying before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights, and speaking alongside heavy hitters like Hillary Clinton.
Damon rebuttal: Why should he rest easy-did he give birth?Affleck rebuttal: America loves a family man.
Let's play a game. You mention something, anything Matt Damon did in 2012 and then I say "2012 Academy Award for Best Picture." You can't win this game.
2013 Damon: Elysium, Behind the Candelabra When he wasn't starring in Elysium, a solid film EW gave a B+ review, Damon was earning a Golden Globe and Emmy nod for his role in Behind the Candelabra. He also kidnapped Jimmy Kimmel.
Affleck: To The Wonder Hey, let's talk about something else Matt Damon hasn't done: starring in a film by acclaimed director Terrence Malick, who's probably the closest thing we have to someone who paints with cinema.
2014 Damon: The Monuments MenThe Monuments Men might not have been the greatest film Damon ever made, but he did it alongside some A-list talent. Also, unlike Affleck, Damon got an invite to Clooney's wedding, which is pretty much the equivalent of winning at this game we call life.
Which, unlike The Monuments Men, is a movie that you're actually going to go see. Right now, even.
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