Kelly & Michael: Ben Affleck Eastern Congo Initiative + 2014 Oscars


Kelly and Michael: Ben Affleck

Busy multitalented actor, writer, and producer Ben Affleck, a winner of two Academy Awards, got to walk Kelly & Michael’s red carpet for an interview before the 2014 Oscars. He shared his reflections on previous wins at the big night, and what’s new with chocolate bars from the Eastern Congo Initiative.

Affleck said he remembered his first win for Good Will Hunting as more majestic and photogenic than it actually was in a clip from the moment. He and Matt Damon used to do their own Oscar ballots at home, and before long they were in the audience, where Billy Crystal was serenading them.


Kelly & Michael: Ben Affleck Screenwriting

Kelly & Michael: Ben Affleck Eastern Congo Initiative + 2014 Oscars

Ben Affleck told Kelly & Michael about the Eastern Congo Initiative and the success of supporting cocoa farmers, as well as his 2014 Oscar thoughts. (Helga Esteb /

Kelly Ripa said that their story must give hope to aspiring screenwriters that everything could change very quickly. “The story was about these guys that wrote their way into the business,” Affleck said, though neither of them had helpful advice, because they were already actors represented by agents.

Affleck and Damon teamed up for the reality series Project Greenlight to give a spotlight to up and coming writers, which was a nice gesture.


Kelly and Michael: Ben Affleck Argo Best Picture

In 2013, Affleck won best picture for Argo. This time around, it was easier to take it all in and have a perspective of a bigger picture and appreciate “a gesture from my peers.” He said he had more respect for the Academy and the traditions of the film industry.

Kelly was backstage for all of it last year, and she said that she remembers talking with him, and how he was emotional and not jaded about the business after over a decade of ups and downs. He did not prepare a speech, instead speaking honestly in the moment.

Kelly & Michael: Ben Affleck on Tom Brady

The Boston Red Sox made Ben proud with their 2013 World Series win. The Patriots did not make the Super Bowl this year, so Michael Strahan offered his condolences. Affleck called Strahan his second-favorite football player, after Tom Brady, “the greatest athlete and maybe greatest man who ever walked the earth.”

Kelly and Michael: 2014 Oscars

Affleck’s wife, Jennifer Garner, is in the film Draft Day, and she had to brush up on her football knowledge. Affleck said he did not want to make predictions, but “my heart is with Dallas Buyers Club.” He also listed some other great films from the past year, “and it’s a shame because there really isn’t a ‘best.’”

“Each movie hits a different emotion for different people,” Michael said. What do you think was the best movie from last year?

Kelly & Michael: Ben Affleck Eastern Congo Initiative

Ben Affleck works with the Eastern Congo Initiative, and he told Kelly and Michael that it can be a difficult place to live, where one in five children die before age five, and the life expectancy is 47 years. “What we do is we work with communities that are already on the ground, and we support them and try to help them achieve their goals,” Affleck said.

For instance, the group worked with a group of cocoa farmers and helped them partner with a Seattle chocolate company, Theo. Now the company is ramping up their investment in chocolate from the Congo. You can look for Theo’s Congolese chocolate bars at Whole Foods, among other outlets.


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