Robbie’s co-stars Ryan Gosling, who played Ken, and America Ferrera, who delivered a rousing monologue about womanhood, were both nominated in the Best Supporting Actor and Actress categories respectively.
The Academy’s decision to pass over Robbie and Gerwig, while recognising Gosling, sparked furious backlash online as some fans noted the very patriarchy that Barbie parodied was to blame for the snub.
Several celebrities, including Gosling, Ferrera, Whoopi Goldberg, and even former US First Lady Hillary Clinton, waded into the debate over whether Robbie and Gerwig had been snubbed. Now, three-time Academy award nominee, Downey Jr has said he doesn’t think Robbie is “getting enough credit” for her nuanced acting performance in Barbie this awards season.
Downey Jr, who is nominated alongside Gosling for his performance in Christopher Nolan’s epic Oppenheimer, made the comments during a conversation about the SAG-AFTRA nominees, with Sterling K Brown (American Fiction) and Willem Dafoe (Poor Things).
Discussing Ferrera’s monologue in Barbie, as well as what constitutes an “effective” acting performance, Brown said: “I never tire of watching someone just listen on camera.”
Downey Jr replied that it “never fails to amaze me” how the smaller, quieter moments can have the greatest impact.
“Margot Robbie is not getting enough credit, in my opinion,” the Iron Man star continued. “America [Ferrera] has this amazing speech. And by the way she nails it! I’m watching it and 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 that I realise Greta is really on to something here. But it’s Robbie who had to trust … and it’s hard when someone who has the fucking two-page passage and they go, ‘Ok now let’s jump in and get Bob,’ and you’re like, ‘I’ve been listening to this all day and now I have to make it work!’” he said.
Downey Jr’s comments come after Robbie responded to being “snubbed” in a new interview with Deadline.
She said that, although Gerwig deserved a Best Director nod for “what she pulled off” with Barbie, she isn’t upset her own name wasn’t put forward because “there’s no way to feel sad when you know you’re this blessed”.
“We set out to do something that would shift culture, affect culture, just make some sort of impact,” she said. “And it’s already done that, and some, way more than we ever dreamed it would. And that is truly the biggest reward that could come out of all of this.”
Barbie, alongwith Best Picture rival Oppenheimer, has been credited with bringing audiences back to the movies following a two-year, pandemic-induced slump. Earning over a £1bn in global box office sales, it was the biggest hit of 2023 as well as the highest-grossing movie ever directed by a woman.