Robbie Downey Jr. joined his fellow best supporting actor SAG Award nominees Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”) and Willem Dafoe (“Poor Things”) for an hour-long discussion for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations program in which he shouted out “Barbie” leading lady Margot Robbie as one actor who just isn’t getting the credit she deserves this season. The trio were talking about how acting for the screen doesn’t need to involve big gestures, with Brown adding: “I never tire of watching someone just listen on camera.”
“It never fails to impress and remind me how little you need to do to be effective,” Downey Jr. said. “Just the simplest version of expression, that’s what the camera wants. The closer the camera gets, the more it wants it. Time and time again, it’s demonstrated that it’s super effective.”
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“Margot Robbie is not getting enough credit, in my opinion,” Downey Jr. continued, using the “Barbie” star as an example. “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 realize 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!'”
Robbie was one of the year’s biggest Oscar snubs, as the Academy did not nominate her in the best actress race. Ferrera, meanwhile, did land an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress thanks to the monologue that Downey Jr. mentioned. Ferrara told Variety it was “disappointing” not to see Robbie recognized in the best actress category. Robbie is still an Oscar nominee for best picture as a producer on the movie.
“What Margot achieved as an actress is truly unbelievable,” Ferrera said. “One of the things about Margot as an actress is how easy she makes everything look. And perhaps people got fooled into thinking that the work seems easy, but Margot is a magician as an actress in front of the screen, and it was one of the honors of my career to get to witness her pull off the amazing performance she did. She brings so much heart and humor and depth and joy and fun to the character. In my book, she’s a master.”
Ryan Gosling, who landed an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor, also expressed disappointment with the Academy for not nominating Robbie for best actress and Greta Gerwig for best director.
“There is no Ken without Barbie, and there is no ‘Barbie’ movie without Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie, the two people most responsible for this history-making, globally-celebrated film.” Gosling said. “No recognition would be possible for anyone on the film without their talent, grit and genius. To say that I’m disappointed that they are not nominated in their respective categories would be an understatement.”
Watch Downey Jr., Brown and Dafoe’s full conversation with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations program in the video below.
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