Ben Affleck. Now here's a man with an odd career in the movie business. After arriving on the scene in 1997 with Good Will Hunting (still considered by many to be his best movie, and a film he also co-wrote), the 40-year-old followed it up with solid turns in Armageddon, Shakespeare in Love and the superb Dogma.

Then things went a little awry. Affleck entered alcohol rehabilitation in 2001 and began dating Latin superstar Jennifer Lopez one year later. It was around this time that Affleck - tipped as a multiple Oscar winner - agreed to roles in the likes of Pearl Habor, Daddy and Them and Jersey Girl. He split with Lopez just days before their planned wedding and the negative press meant his movie 'Gigli' was a huge box-office failure. However, after striking up a relationship with Jennifer Garner (to whom he is now happily married), Affleck appeared to find the confidence to begin writing and directing serious, hard-hitting roles, and his turns in The Company Men and most recently The Town were critically acclaimed. Now, he returns with 'Argo', a serious contender for Best Picture at the Oscars in February and the most talked about movie of the awards' season so far. A thriller-cum-comedy about the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-1981, Affleck had some pretty heavy material to work with though appears to have carried it off with aplomb. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine was effusive in his praise for the flick, writing, "Ben Affleck doesn't merely direct Argo, he directs the hell out of it, nailing the quickening pace, the wayward humor, the nerve-frying suspense. There's no doubt he's crafted one of the best movies of the year."

Though it'll have to beat Spielberg's 'Lincoln' and the Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master' to win Best Picture, we think Argo may well be this year's Hurt Locker. Watch it gather pace as the Oscars draws closer.