Robert Downey Jr fans think Best Supporting Actor winner made coded dig at Marvel during Oscars speech

Iron Man star won the award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in ‘Oppenheimer’

Louis Chilton
Monday 11 March 2024 07:38 GMT
Oscars 2024: Robert Downey Jr wins Best Supporting Actor for Oppenheimer role

Viewers of the 2024 Oscars ceremony claim to have spotted a coded dig at Marvel in Robert Downey Jr’s acceptance speech.

The actor, who starred as Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) in 10 Marvel Cinematic Universe films between 2008 and 2019, took home the prize for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards on Sunday night (10 March).

Downey won the award for his role as politician Lewis Strauss in Christopher Nolan’s biopic Oppenheimer. The movie was widely heralded as a comeback for Downey, who had taken on only a handful of non-MCU projects over the past decade.

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In his speech, Downey said: "Here’s my little secret: I needed this job more than it needed me. Chris [Nolan] knew it, [producer Emma Thomas] made sure the she surrounded me with one of the greatest cast and crews of all time.”

Paying tribute to co-stars Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, and Matt Damon, he continued: “Emily, Cillian, Matt... it was fantastic and I stand here before you a better man because of it. You know, what we do is meaningful, and the stuff that we decide to make is important.”

On social media, some people have speculated that the comment about Downey having “needed the job more than it needed” him, and the remark about the things “we decide to make” being “important”, were alluding disparagingly to his work in Marvel.

Downey Jr poses with his Oscar
Downey Jr poses with his Oscar (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

“‘I needed this role way more than they needed me’ this man does NOT want to go back to marvel LOL,” one person wrote.

“RDJ saying ‘I needed this job more than it needed me’ my god he was FED UP of Marvel capes***,” commented wrote.

Downey Jr previously appeared to aim a slight at his Marvel past while accepting an award at the Baftas last month. On stage, Downey said that he had agreed to “attempt an understated approach [on Oppenheimer] as a last-ditch effort to perhaps resurrect my dwindling credibility”.

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At the beginning of the Oscars ceremony, Downey was also seen looking uncomfortable after ceremony host Jimmy Kimmel made a joke about his history of substance abuse.

Other notable moments throughout the ceremony included the acceptance speech from Best Supporting Actress winner Da’Vine Joy Randolph, which reduced co-star Paul Giamatti to tears. Ryan Gosling performed a live rendition of “I’m Just Ken” from Barbie, and John Cena presented an award while entirely naked.

In the UK, the ceremony was shown on ITV, with the broadcast hosted by Jonathan Ross. However, Ross’s punditry drew a mixed response from viewers, with some branding the programme utterly “painful”.

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