Robert Downey Jr. just picked up his third career Oscar nomination, this time in the supporting actor race for his performance in Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer.” Many pundits are viewing Downey as the frontrunner after he won the same category at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Award, plus picked up nominations from the BAFTA Film Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Whatever happens, Downey believes he is in better shape to receive an Oscar now than he was during his first nomination at the 1993 ceremony.
During a recent interview on “The View,” Downey said winning the 1993 Oscar for best actor for his performance as Charlie Chaplin in “Chaplin” would’ve been the worst thing for his career.
More from Variety
“I was young and crazy,” Downey said, adding that an Oscar win at 28 years old “would have put me under the impression that I was on the right track.”
The actor spent many years after his first Oscar nomination in trouble with the law. He was notoriously arrested in 1996 for possession of heroin, cocaine and an unloaded gun and given three years of probation. He was then jailed for nearly four months a year later after skipping a court-ordered drug test. He skipped another test in 1999 and was sentenced to three years in prison. Downey served 15 months, then was arrested again four months after his release for drug possession.
Downey’s history with the law made him a tough sell to Marvel for the career-defining role of Tony Stark. He was former Marvel Studios’ president David Maisel’s top pick, but “my board thought I was crazy to put the future of the company in the hands of an addict.”
“I helped them understand how great he was for the role,” Maisel said last year. “We all had confidence that he was clean and would stay clean.”
Downey lost the 1993 Oscar for best actor to Al Pacino for “Scent of a Woman.” He would earn his second Oscar nomination in 2009 for the comedy “Tropic Thunder,” but the award was given posthumously to “The Dark Knight” actor Heath Ledger. Downey Jr.’s current nomination for “Oppenheimer” is one of 13 noms the Nolan-directed epic has under its belt. It’s the most nominated film of the year.
Best of Variety