Robert Downey Jr.: Why I didn't want an Oscar nod for Tony Stark role

Director Joe Russo and Marvel fans think the Avengers: Endgame actor was surely deserving.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

Robert Downey Jr. didn't encourage Disney to campaign for an Oscar for him.

Marvel Studios

Robert Downey Jr. chose to stay out of the Oscar race for his role as Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame, the actor told Howard Stern on Monday while taping The Howard Stern Show.

Stern mentioned director Martin Scorsese's recent comments, made to Empire magazine, that Marvel movies are "not cinema," and that led into the Oscar discussion.

"I'm so glad you brought this up because there was some talk about (putting my name forth for an acting Oscar), and I said 'let's not,'" Downey told Stern.

"Doing (the MCU films) was their own reward," Downey said. "I don't know that it's time or if I am the guy ... to have the Academy recognize."

As far as Scorsese's thoughts on Marvel movies not being "cinema," Downey was courteous about what could've seemed like a slam on his work.

"It's his opinion," he told Stern. "I mean, it plays in theaters. I appreciate his opinion because I think it's like anything: We need all of the different perspectives so we can come to the center and move on."

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Disney has high hopes for Avengers: Endgame at the Oscars, but Robert Downey Jr. isn't suggested for a nomination. And it sounds like that was at his request.

Screenshot by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

Some awards-watchers were surprised recently when Disney revealed the webpage showing the awards for which the studio was putting forth possible nominees from Avengers: Endgame. (The awards page is difficult to locate and may've been taken down, but CNET grabbed a screenshot.) 

Downey wasn't listed, and some saw that as a snub by the studio, though the Stern interview would seem to indicate this was at Downey's request.

Disney is suggesting that Avengers: Endgame be considered for best picture, and that directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely should be nominated. The studio also puts forth the film for cinematography, film editing, production design, costume design, sound mixing, sound editing, visual effects and original score awards.

Before Downey's revelation, some fans were quite ticked at his name being left off the Disney list.

"Robert Downey Jr., the founding father, did not have to carry the weight of the MCU for 11 years, playing one of the most complex and character development roles that is Tony Stark/Iron Man, just so this man can be snubbed for an Oscar," wrote one Twitter user.

More than one fan petition is trying to garner support for the actor's nomination.

And director Joe Russo surely thought Downey was Oscar-worthy. 

"I don't know if I have ever seen -- in movie history -- a global audience react to a performance the way they did to Robert Downey in (Avengers: Endgame)," Russo told The Daily Beast last month. "There were people bawling in movie theaters, hyperventilating. I mean, that is a profound performance, when you can touch audiences all over the world to that degree. We've never seen anything like that, and if that doesn't deserve an Oscar, I don't know what does."

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