You know Oscar-winning ‘Argo’ producer Grant Heslov better than you might realize

WireImage/Jeff Kravitz

So who was that guy who took the stage with Ben Affleck and George Clooney to accept the Best Picture Oscar for "Argo," anyway?

Grant Heslov, who's almost but not quite as stunningly handsome as his two stage-mates, has emerged as quite the formidable Hollywood producer in recent years -- though he first became acquainted with his pal and partner George Clooney in an acting class when they were just starting out as young thespians.

"We did a scene together and became buddies," said Heslov in an interview with Entertainment Weekly back in October 2011. Heslov first showed off his producer chops -- at least where money is concerned -- when he lent Clooney the cash for his first headshots: "It was $100 -- and he still hasn't paid me back."

[Related: See the full list of 2013 Oscar winners]

Heslov's first official producing credit was for the Coen Brothers comedy "Intolerable Cruelty" (2003), which starred Clooney as divorce lawyer Miles Massey (inventor of "the Massey Pre-Nup"). From there, Clooney and Heslov teamed up to produce "Good Night, and Good Luck" (2005), for which they received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

Clooney and Heslov made it official in 2006 with the forming of their own production company, Smoke House, and have since collaborated as producing partners on Clooney's other directing efforts, "Leatherheads" (2008) and "The Ides of March" (2011), as well as 2009's "The Men Who Stare at Goats" (which Heslov directed himself), director Anton Corbijn's "The American" (2010) and, of course, "Argo" (2012). The partners are currently producing the screen adaptation of Tracy Letts' acclaimed stage play, "August: Osage County," and Clooney's latest directing gig, "The Monuments Men."

That's all well and good, but how do you really know Grant Heslov? The guy got his start as an actor, after all, and he continues to show up on screen every now and then, particularly as Saul Keller in "Leatherheads" and as Don Hewitt in "Good Night, and Good Luck" -- though you're probably more acquainted with some of his earlier character roles.

You know, like Faisal, Arnold Schwarzenegger's other sidekick (the one who's not Tom Arnold) in James Cameron's "True Lies" (1994). He also played Richard, Dylan Walsh's assistant in talking primate technology who got clobbered by one of the grey gorilla monsters in "Congo" (1995). Heslov even qualifies as an '80s teen heartthrob after appearing opposite Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and Heather Graham in "License to Drive" (1988). He earned his disaster film stripes with "Dante's Peak" (that's the 1997 volcano movie that doesn't star Tommy Lee Jones), dabbled in political conspiracy in Tony Scott's "Enemy of the State" (1998) and rocked with The Rock in "The Scorpion King" (2002). And let's not forget his appearance opposite Chris Farley in 1996's "Black Sheep."

Chris Farley and Grant HeslovChris Farley and Grant Heslov in 'Black Sheep' (Photo: Everett Collection)

Heslov's resume makes for a great Hollywood Cinderella story of a character actor becoming an Oscar-winning producer (and the business partner of George Clooney, at that) ... though his greatest achievement at the 85th Annual Academy Awards might not be winning the Oscar for Best Picture but rather successfully dodging any flooding toilets, according to his brief post-ceremony chat with TMZ.

The Heslov/Clooney production "August: Osage County" will hit theaters sometime this year with "The Monuments Men" set for the very awards-friendly release date of December 18.