Robert Downey Jr. Gave A Predictably Entertaining And Humbled Speech When Winning His First Oscar: ‘I’d Like To Thank My Terrible Childhood’

In Oppenheimer Robert Downey Jr. gave arguably his most intense performance. As Lewis Strauss, the government bureaucrat who destroys the career of J. Robert Oppenheimer (and maybe the future), he’s arrogance and entitlement personified, and the last hour is basically a prolonged panic attack. But when Downey won the Best Supporting Oscar, as predicted, at this year’s Academy Awards, he was back to his charming and self-deprecating self.

Downey’s speech kicked off in high gear. “I’d like to thank my terrible childhood, and the Academy. In that order,” he said.

He then thanked his “veterinarian, I mean wife,” namely Susan Downey. Why did he call her a veterinarian? There’s a reason. “She found me, a snarling rescue pet, and loved me back to life. That’s why I’m here.”

Downey then acknowledged something big about Oppenheimer. “Here’s my little secret: I needed this job more than it needed me. Chris [Nolan, director] knew it.”

He also made sure to include another big person in his life: “I’m going to thank my stylist, in case no one else does.”

And Downey thanked one of the most loyal people in his life: Tom Hansen, his entertainment lawyer of 40 years — “half of which he spent trying to get me insured and bailing me out of the hoosegow. Thanks, bro!”

It was a simultaneously charming and humbled speech, not afraid to reference the dark days of his career. He’d already delivered an awards speech where he read bad reviews, but this one was even more entertaining and, quietly, moving.