IndieWire awards editor Anne Thompson has already gone on record calling Robert Downey Jr.’s Oscar chances for “Avengers: Endgame” a long shot, but one industry name already beating the drum for the 54-year-old actor is Jon Favreau. The filmmaker started the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008 by directing Downey in “Iron Man,” and the two reunited for its 2010 sequel “Iron Man 2.” Favreau has also acted opposite Downey as Tony Stark’s friend and personal chauffeur Happy Hogan.
“He has my vote for sure,” Favreau recently told Variety. “I think he was able to discover and explore dimensions of the character over the course of many, many films, which is a bit of its own category. But I have to say that if you look at, especially how it began and how it ended in his performances between the first one and ‘Endgame,’ there was a really thoughtful arc to the character, both in his performance and how all the filmmakers contributed to that character.”
Downey does a lot of the emotional heavy lifting in “Endgame,” which brings to an end Tony Stark’s character arc in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Most critics praised the actor’s work and consider his performance to rank among the best in the film, although getting a performance from a superhero movie nominated at the Oscars is never a certainty. Outside of Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning supporting turn in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight,” actors in comic books have rarely been nominated. Even with an Oscar nomination earlier this year for Best Picture, Marvel’s “Black Panther” still missed out on acting categories despite considerable buzz for Michael B. Jordan in the supporting category.
Favreau is clearly a bit biased when it comes to Downey, having directed the actor in two “Iron Man” movies and acted opposite him in several more MCU films, but Favreau’s sentiment does prove that Downey Jr. is a beloved figure in the industry. Conquering Oscar season has as much to do with industry love and support as it does with the merits of a performance. Downey has an overabundance of industry support, which could bode well in building Oscar buzz around his MCU curtain call. The actor received nominations in the past for Best Actor (“Chaplin”) and Best Supporting Actor (“Tropic Thunder”).
“Avengers: Endgame” is now playing in theaters nationwide.