The ‘Oppenheimer’ Oscar nominee says winning at an early age “would have put me under the impression that I was on the right track”
In an interview with the co-hosts of The View posted Wednesday, the Iron Man actor, 58, revealed that he’s relieved to have not won his first of three Academy Award nominations for playing Charlie Chaplin in 1992’s Chaplin.
“I was young and crazy,” Downey Jr. said when asked about losing that race to Scent of a Woman’s Al Pacino.
Winning at only age 28, he told Joy Behar with a wry smile, “would have put me under the impression that I was on the right track.”
Turning to co-host Whoopi Goldberg, his costar in the 1991 comedy Soapdish, he added, “Whoopi remembers.”
“We were on those tracks together,” agreed Goldberg, 68.
Following his first Oscar nod, Downey Jr. was arrested and jailed multiple times over drug-related charges in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He has spoken out about his sobriety and struggles with addiction, calling his early career era “30 years of dependency, depravity and despair.”
In a clip from his appearance on The View posted on X (formerly known as Twitter), the actor also shared his reaction to Oppenheimer’s success among the 96th Academy Award nominations, announced Tuesday. “I was just so happy for all 13 nominations,” he said, adding he “couldn’t believe that it was Emily Blunt’s first Oscar nomination.”
Blunt and leading actor Cillian Murphy are both first-time Oscar nominees alongside Downey Jr., who plays U.S. Atomic Energy Commission chairman Lewis Strauss in Christopher Nolan’s Best Picture contender about J. Robert Oppenheimer. In addition to leading the Academy nominations tally, Oppenheimer was the third-highest-grossing movie of 2023 and the highest-grossing biographical film of all time.
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Of learning about his nomination, Downey Jr. recalled that he “walked downstairs past our somewhat moody cat Montgomery” and that his wife Susan “wanted to give me the opportunity to have a cup of coffee” before discussing the news.
The cast of Oppenheimer, the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award winner shared, “became really close during the shoot… Of course, there was the strike so we weren’t really able to have the full experience, but it seems like the movies are back, it seems like things are kind of something like normal. So we’re just happy that we get to celebrate.”
The Marvel star’s second of three Oscar nominations was for his supporting role in 2008’s action comedy Tropic Thunder. Winning at that ceremony was the late Heath Ledger, for playing the Joker in Nolan’s The Dark Knight.
Among Downey Jr.’s upcoming projects is the HBO miniseries The Sympathizer.
The 96th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air live on Sunday, March 10, from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
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