Ben Affleck walked away from the 2013 Oscars with one heck of a consolation prize for his Best Director snub. The Argo filmmaker and his team captured the night's top award, beating out eight other nominees, including Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook, for Best Picture at the Feb. 24 ceremony in L.A. 

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Affleck, 40, was visibly emotional as he accepted the coveted honor. He acknowledged the competition, thanked everyone who had worked on or in the film, and then turned the attention to his wife, Jennifer Garner, who has been a steady presence at his side throughout this year's awards season.

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The critically acclaimed star choked up as he expressed his gratitude toward Garner, not for her work on the film -- "I normally don't associate [her] with Iran," he quipped during his speech -- but for her work on their marriage over the last "10 Christmases." (Technically, eight; the couple married in 2005.)

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"It's work, but it's the best work there is," the director said of his relationship with his wife, also 40, mother of his three children, Violet, 7, Seraphina, 4, and Samuel, 11 months. "And there's no one else I'd rather work with." (Garner looked on from the audience, beaming.)

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Affleck also opened up in his speech about overcoming challenges to get to where he is today. "I was here a few years ago, and I had no idea what I was doing," said the star, who won a Best Screenplay Oscar in 1998 for Good Will Hunting with pal Matt Damon -- followed by a spate of badly reviewed box office flops. "I never thought I'd get back here."

"You have to work harder than you think you possibly can," he continued. "It's hard. But you can't hold grudges. And it doesn't matter if you get knocked down in life. All that matters is that you gotta get back up."

This article originally appeared on Ben Affleck Wins Best Picture Oscar for Argo, Thanks Wife Jennifer Garner: Marriage Is "Work, But It's the Best Work There Is"