Robert Downey Jr. Is Glad He Didn’t Win 1993 Best Actor Oscar: Here’s Why

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 14: Robert Downey Jr. attends 29th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 14, 2024 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Robert Smith/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Robert Smith/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Actor Robert Downey Jr. admitted it was probably better that he did not win the Oscar when he was nominated for the best actor award three decades ago — for his performance in the 1993 biopic “Chaplin.”

The “Iron Man” star made the revelation on ABC’s “The View” last week, just after the news broke that he had been nominated in the best supporting actor category for his turn as Admiral Lewis Strauss in the Christopher Nolan-directed “Oppenheimer” (2023).


“You lost to Al Pacino for ‘Scent of a Woman,'” Joy Behar pointed out. “Now you say it actually would have been the worst thing for you to have won that year.”

Downey Jr. laughed, saying, “Ah, because I was young and crazy and it would have put me under the impression that I was on the right track. Whoopi remembers.”

“We were all on those tracks together,” Whoopi Goldberg — who co-starred with Downey Jr. in the 1991 film “Soapdish” — just laughed in response.

The “Tropic Thunder” star was not exaggerating when he said his early career was “crazy” — in 1996, he was arrested on drug and weapons charges. After violating the terms of his parole, he was arrested again and sentenced in 1999 to three years in prison — but ultimately served 15 months. He was pardoned in 2015 by then Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA).

His entrance into the Marvel Cinematic Universe — as Tony Stark/Iron Man in 2004’s “Iron Man” — marked his comeback in Hollywood after an early career that he described as “30 years of dependency, depravity and despair.”

In addition to “Oppenheimer” and the best actor nod for “Chaplin, Downey Jr. was also nominated in the best supporting actor category for his role in 2009’s “Tropic Thunder.”

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