Downey Jr.—who’s in the midst of a successful awards campaign for his performance in Barbie’s box office cohort Oppenheimer—said this week that Robbie isn’t get enough credit for her role in Greta Gerwig’s hit film.
His comments came during a SAG-AFTRA-hosted roundtable featuring Downey, American Fiction’s Sterling K. Brown, and Poor Things’s Willem Dafoe, all of whom are nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the SAG Awards. When the moderator asked about “stillness in acting” and if they ever feel the “temptation to push a little more” on screen, Downey Jr. noted, “It never fails to impress and remind me how little you need to do to be effective.”
“Margot Robbie is not getting enough credit, in my opinion,” he added, pointing to her performance in Barbie as an example. “Because America [Ferrara] has this amazing speech. And by the way, she nails it! I’m watching it and I go, ‘Wow, that was a really tough one. That’s like a one-act play. The whole movie hinges on it.’ But it’s the cuts away to Robbie so actively listening. It’s when I realize, ‘Oh, OK, now I see Greta is really on to something here.’”
He continued, “But it was Robbie who had to trust … and let’s not kid ourselves, it’s hard when someone has the fucking two-page passage and they go, ‘All right, now let’s jump in and get Bob,’ and you’re just like, ‘I’ve been listening to this all day and now I have to make it work!’”
Robbie’s lead performance in Barbie was widely considered to be one of the most egregious snubs from this year’s Academy Award nominations, as was Gerwig, who was passed over for Best Director. Meanwhile, Gosling earned a Best Supporting Actor nod for his role as Ken, and Ferrera was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, thanks in large part to the impassioned monologue that Downey Jr. referenced.
Barbie is also up for Best Picture, and considering Robbie is a producer on the film, she’ll likely still attend the Oscars in March—and maybe she’ll even get a photo opp there with her fervid fan RDJ.