Robert Downey Jr. wins best supporting Oscar for ‘Oppenheimer’

March 11, 2024 - 8:46 AM
Robert Downey Jr. wins the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for "Oppenheimer" during the Oscars show at the 96th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 10, 2024. (Reuters/Mike Blake)

LOS ANGELES— Robert Downey Jr. won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in “Oppenheimer,” where he played a villainous bureaucrat who seeks to destroy the acclaimed physicist.

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Downey played Lewis Strauss, the former chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission who mounted a behind-the-scenes campaign to strip J. Robert Oppenheimer of his security clearance by tarring him as a communist. Strauss’s efforts were later exposed during a congressional hearing, as he sought confirmation to serve as President Dwight Eisenhower’s commerce secretary.

Critics praised Downey for playing against his conventional type. Though he has played junkies, hustlers and fast-talkers, Downey is perhaps best known for his multiple film appearances as Marvel superhero Iron Man.

Downey was considered a frontrunner for the best supporting actor Oscar, having collected Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild trophies for his co-staring role.

The actor earned his first Oscar nomination for playing Charlie Chaplin in 1992’s “Chaplin.” After battles with scandal and addiction, he earned a second supporting-actor nomination for his role in the war satire “Tropic Thunder.”

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—Reporting by Dawn Chmielewski; Editing by Jonathan Oatis