Whether it was Will Smith’s 2022 Oscars slap or Jennifer Coolidge declaring her dream role is to play a dolphin at this year’s Golden Globes, these days award shows are largely eclipsed by the viral pop culture moments they generate.
This was especially true at the 2023 Grammys, where newly weds Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were caught on camera bickering in the background of host Trevor Noah’s introduction. The PDA (public display of aggression) sent social media into a tizz – with Affleck’s misery quickly becoming a meme.
“Whoever keeps cutting to Ben Affleck as he gets more and more exasperated, thank you,” said author and radio host Elamin Abdelmahmoud on Twitter. “Ben Affleck is every husband dragged to a work thing by his wife,” wrote another.
One newspaper even went to the efforts of hiring a professional lip reader to figure out what the two were mouthing at each other, which was reportedly: “Stop. Look more friendly. Look motivated.” To which Affleck shrugs, responding sulkily: “I might.”
However, the actor has since clarified what the exchange was really about during an interview with the Hollywood Reporter. “I saw [Noah approach] and I was like ‘Oh, God’. They were framing us in this shot, but I didn’t know they were rolling. I leaned into her and I was like, ‘As soon they start rolling, I’m going to slide away from you and leave you sitting next to Trevor,’" Affleck explained. "She goes, ‘You better f---ing not leave.’”
He also put the heated moment down to your typical marital tiff. “That’s a husband-and-wife thing. I mean, some of it is, I’m like, ‘All right, who is this act?’ Like, I don’t keep up. My wife does, obviously. And yeah, it is your wife’s work event."
Despite his glum demeanour at the event and his admission that there have been times throughout his career where he’s “gone to events and been pissed off” and “bored”, Affleck insisted he enjoyed the 2023 Grammy ceremony.
“I had a good time at the Grammys. My wife was going, and I thought, ‘Well, there’ll be good music. It might be fun.’ At movie award shows, it’s speeches and, like, sound-mixing webinars,” he said. “But I thought this would be fun."