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Oscar Buzz Cheat Sheet: Argo, Ben Affleck's Triple Threat

Ben Affleck, Argo Warner Bros.

Ben Affleck is everywhere.

And even after Argo hits theaters today, he'll stay everywhere.

A look at why Affleck and his new thriller, which he directed, produced and stars in, will be impossible to miss this awards season:

All about Affleck's beard

It's Been a Long, Long, Long Time Since Gigli: Argo, which is being sold as the latest  "from the director of The Town," is the third straight Oscar vehicle from the risen-from-the-ashes Affleck.

They Took Toronto:  Affleck and Argo emerged from the film festival/awards-season-starter with the best notices this side of the upcoming Silver Linings Playbook.

They'll Probably Clean Up at the Critics Awards, Too: At last look, Argo was at a lofty 93 percent at Rotten Tomatoes. Affleck's standing among critics for his work on the film is just as high. "The real accomplishment here is how Affleck…manages to segue from Ocean's Eleven-style repartee to pulse-pounding tension and back again," National Public Radio critic Bob Mondello noted.

George Clooney, Stacy Keibler attend Argo premiere

They'll Hit All the Sweet Spots: Affleck's story will appeal to voters who like comebacks; Argo will appeal to voters who like movies that are about something (see: the Iranian-hostage crisis), and who especially like movies that are about something Hollywood (see: the top-secret plan to smuggle said hostages out of Iran under the guise they were filmmakers).

They're Up in the Polls: Currently, the awards-show site GoldDerby has Affleck as the favorite for Best Director, while the bookmakers have Argo as a consensus top five pick in the Best Picture race. About the only bad news: Affleck isn't considered a leading contender for Best Actor, thus endangering his bid to go three-for-three.

Affleck Will Talk About Everything: Rehab, Jennifer Lopez, even Daredevil—it's all referenced, if not discussed, in a lengthy Hollywood Reporter profile. Awards season, and the talk shows that promote and rely on it, will not soon forget such generosity. 

One Thing to Watch For… Argo's box-office performance this weekend is by no means make or break, provided it doesn't pull a Won't Back Down, which itself pulled an Oogieloves. The tracking firm Exhibitor Relations, for one, is calling for Argo to score a perfectly acceptable $18 million debut.

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