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Minnie Driver explains her ‘devastated’ reaction to Matt Damon’s Oscar win

Pair starred together in ‘Good Will Hunting’, which won Damon and Ben Affleck the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay

Kevin E G Perry
Wednesday 13 December 2023 01:03 GMT
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Minnie Driver has revealed why she looked “devastated” while watching Matt Damon and Ben Affleck pick up the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting in 1998.

Footage of Affleck and Damon’s acceptance speech from that year’s Academy Awards was recently posted by the popular Movie Shmood Instagram account, leading one user to comment: “Minnie looks so sad.”

Driver replied directly to the comment, explaining: “Matt had ended our relationship a few weeks before this, and was at the Oscars with his new [girlfriend]… I was devastated.”

She added: “Wish I could have celebrated more as it was an amazing moment for all of us, and for this wonderful film”.

Separately, Driver also commented on the post: “My face” with four crying laughing emojis and a red heart.

Driver and Damon met while playing love interests in the Boston-set psychological drama about a gifted janitor, and dated from 1997 to 1998. By the time of the 1998 Oscars, however, Damon was dating Winona Ryder.

Matt Damon and Minnie Driver at the premiere of ‘Good Will Hunting’ in 1997 (Getty Images)

Prior to the Academy Awards, Damon had publicly announced his break-up from Driver during an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

“I was with Minnie for a while, but we’re not really romantically involved anymore, we’re just really good friends. I love her dearly,” he told Winfrey.

“I care about her a lot. We care about each other a lot. It wasn’t meant to be and if it wasn’t meant to be then it’s not meant to be.”

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In a 1998 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Driver said: “It’s unfortunate that Matt went on Oprah; it seemed like a good forum for him to announce to the world that we were no longer together, which I found fantastically inappropriate.”

She added: “Of course, he was busy declaring his love for me on David Letterman a month previously.”

Last year, Driver said that while she and Damon are “not friends”, she still has “an enormous amount of love” for him.

In 2017, after Damon characterised the #MeToo movement as being part of a “culture of outrage and injury”, Driver tweeted in condemnation of him, responding “Good god, seriously?” and suggesting that men like Damon were “systemically part of the problem”.

Speaking during an appearance on the How to Fail with Elizabeth Day podcast, Driver said: “We’re not friends, but I feel an enormous amount of love for him because we shared this inflection point, well it was an inflection point for me.

“I think it’s okay to call people out if you’re willing to stand by what you believe, like, I don’t think you should call people out just to get attention. And I also think that you can move on from that, and grow and learn.”

Read The Independent’s interview with Driver from 2021 here.

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