Advertisement

Robert Downey Jr. Wins First Oscar for ‘Oppenheimer’: ‘I’d Like to Thank My Terrible Childhood and the Academy’

Robert Downey Jr. has won the Oscar for best supporting actor for his work in Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer.” The night completed an awards season sweep for the star, with his victory at the Oscars joining his previous supporting actor wins at the Golden Globes, Critic’s Choice Awards, SAG Awards and BAFTA Film Awards.

“I’d like to thank my terrible childhood and the Academy — in that order,” Downey quipped at the start of his speech, before throwing in another joke. “I’d like to thank my veterinarian — I meant wife, Susan Downey over there. She found me a snarling rescue pet and you loved me back to life. That’s why I’m here.”

More from Variety

Downey also offered his thanks to his “Oppenheimer” collaborators, including director Nolan, producer Emma Thomas and his co-stars and fellow Oscar nominees Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt.

“Here’s my little secret. I needed this job more than it needed me. Chris knew it. Emma made sure that she surrounded me with one of the great casts and crews of all time — Emily, Cillian. It was fantastic. And I stand here before you a better man because of it,” Downey continued. “What we do is meaningful, and the stuff that we decide to make is important.”

“My entertainment lawyer Tom Hanson, of 40 years, the half of which he spent trying to get me insured and bailing me out of the hoosegow — thanks, bro,” Downey said, wrapping his time onstage. The actor also thanked his stylist, publicist and manager during his speech.

Downey dominated awards shows this season with his charismatic acceptance speeches. At the Critics Choice Awards, he decided to read directly from reviews he earned over the years that weren’t exactly kind to him.

“I was thinking this morning: I love critics,” Downey said sarcastically. “They’ve given me such beautiful feedback, really just so many great moments, and some of it is so poetic, I just want to share some of their thoughts with you over the years.”

“The first one is kind of like haiku: ‘Sloppy, messy and lazy,'” he continued, “The next one is more metaphoric: ‘Like Pee-wee Herman emerging from a coma.’ This was from a Brit: ‘A puzzling waste of talent.’ And lastly, and this one lingered: ‘Amusing as a bed-locked fart.’”

At the BAFTA Film Awards, Downey Jr. made headlines for thanking Nolan for casting him and restoring some of his credibility after he spent well over a decade in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Iron Man/Tony Stark.

“When I was 15, I wanted to be Peter O’Toole. When I was 25, I worked for Richard Attenbourgh and Anthony Hopkins. When I was 35, I finally understood why Dickie thought Tony would be a better role model for me than Peter,” Downey Jr. said. “When I was 42, I did two films for Guy Ritchie and learned how to make big Hollywood movies with a civil British flare. I then played a guy named Tony in the MCU for about 12 years. And then recently, that dude Chris Nolan suggested I attempt an understated approach as a last-ditch effort to perhaps resurrect my dwindling credibility. So I share this with my fellow nominees, this has been an exceptional year.”

Downey Jr. was nominated at the Oscars for supporting actor alongside Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”), Robert De Niro (“Killers of the Flower Moon”), Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”) and Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”). Downey Jr. had been dominating the season so much that even Brown said last month that he knows he’d be losing the Oscar to the “Oppenheimer” star.

See the full list of Oscar winners here.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.