Almost any industry insider would have guessed that Argo was Ben Affleck’s ticket to another Oscar nomination, his first since winning for Good Will Hunting’s screenplay.

Instead, Ben’s third feature was met with an “Argo f― yourself” in the Best Director and (less surprisingly) Best Actor categories. (Since he’s a producer on the film, he is nominated in the Best Picture category.) So maybe the fourth time’s a charm?

Ben is hoping so, since he’s dropped out of the comedy Focus, starring Kristen Stewart, to concentrate on his behind-the-scenes filmmaking... or so he says.

Ben’s initial bow-out of Focus happened just after Kristen Stewart signed on, which made it look like he might have ditched the project because he didn’t want to co-star with Twilight’s Bella.

But that’s not the case ― at least, not officially. If Ben really thinks starring opposite Kristen might be a painful reminder of his hated-on Bennifer days in the paparazzi spotlight, he’s keeping it close to the chest.

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“I love Kristen,” he told MTV News in an interview. “I was really excited to work with her. I think the movie is going to be fabulous. I'm sure they'll find a great guy for it."

He also revealed that the reason for his exit is so he can get more work done on Live By Night, an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel, set in Boston in the Roaring Twenties. (Can we assume that Ben will be playing the lead role of the corrupt cop?) Gone Baby Gobe, Ben’s first movie, was also a Dennis Lehane adaptation.

Do you think Ben actually dropped out of Focus because of Kristen?

Photos Courtesy of Fameflynet