MEET THE SO-AND-SO'S
He earned a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination with pal Matt Damon for Good Will Hunting, so it's clear that actor Ben Affleck is more than just Hollywood's hunk du jour. Still, he's philosophical about being objectified. "The pinup aspect is part of the game," says Affleck, 25. "I think you're naive if you want to be an actor and you don't expect that people will see you that way. Hey, young guys, pinup guys, that's what sells." He has also learned another lesson about what makes good copy. "Probably more actors date people who aren't actors, but the [ones who date actors] get more attention because then there's more of a story," he says. "Rather than writing Mr. So-and-So and Guest, it's Mr. So-and-So and Miss So-and-So." Especially when the Miss is Gwyneth Paltrow, Affleck's steady date.

HAVANA NICE DAY!
"I try not to get jet-lagged—I don't have time to get jet-lagged," says CBS This Morning lifestyle reporter Martha Stewart, who flew to the Nagano Winter Games shortly after covering Pope John Paul II's historic visit to Cuba. But after receiving far less access to Fidel Castro than she had hoped for, Stewart was happy to move on to Japan. "I don't think Castro really spoke to anybody other than the Pope," says Stewa 56. "I was very disappointed There were no receptions; very little in the way of personal contact." But Stewart didn't need an introduction to form an opinion of the Communist leader. "Castro has done a terrible disservice to an entire country," she says. "It was more depressing than I thought it would be, and the people were more unhappy than I thought they would be. I can't believe that one person could destroy an island paradise."

SPIN CONTROL
She plays a White House spin doctor in the political satire Wag the Dog, so does Anne Heche have any advice for President Clinton's team about handling the Monica Lewinsky mess? "Unfortunately, they have to do something because there's no respect for his personal life," says Heche, 28, who believes Clinton's private life should be kept private. "When people say this makes him a bad President, I don't agree. He should be judged on whether or not he's a good politician, and I think he is one. I'm kind of offended by the fact that [the scandal] is so publicized." Adds Heche, who made headlines last year when her romantic relationship with Ellen DeGeneres became public: "I feel sorry for him. We went through that. And it's a tough thing to go through."

POSH DREAMS
Being considered in the same category as pop legend Elton John at the Grammys Feb. 25 is not exactly a high note in the career of singer-songwriter newcomer Duncan Sheik. "I am a fan of Elton's early works," says Sheik, 28, whose hit single "Barely Breathing" has put him up for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance against John ("Candle in the Wind 1997"), Maxwell ("Whenever Wherever Whatever"), Seal ("Fly Like an Eagle") and Babyface ("Every Time I Close My Eyes"). "But I am definitely not a fan of his recent work. Not even counting that Princess Diana 'Candle in the Wind' thing, his songs over the past few years have made me cringe." Still, the pop heartthrob has more important things to worry about for Grammy night—like getting a date. His dream date? "Definitely Posh Spice," says Sheik. "No question. She's by far the best."