Why Robert Downey Jr Thanked His Veterinarian in His ‘Oppenheimer’ Victory Speech

Robert Downey Jr wins Best Supporting Actor award at the Oscars

It’s a good day to be Robert Downey Jr. After being nominated for multiple Oscars, Downey Jr has finally cracked it. Downey Jr has won a Best Supporting Actor award for playing Lewis Strauss in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer.

“I would like to thank my terrible childhood and the Academy, in that order,” Downey Jr said. “I would like to thank my veterinarian, I mean wife, Susan Downey. She found me a snarling rescue pet and you loved me back to life, and that is why I am here. Thank you.”

During the mid-nineties and early-noughties, Downey Jr struggled with drug addiction. In 1999, he did 12 months in prison after repeatedly missing court-ordered drug tests. During this time, Susan helped Robert manage this illness.

After thanking his terrible childhood, the Academy, and his wife, Downey Jr thanked Oppenheimer’s cast.

“Here is my little secret. I needed this job more than it needed me,” Downey Jr said. “Chris knew it, and Emma Thomas made sure she surrounded me with one of the great casts and crews of all time. Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon, it was fantastic. And I stand here before you a better man because of it. What we do is meaningful, and the stuff that we decide to make is important.”

In Nolan’s Oppenheimer, Strauss is a twitchy yet charismatic character who pushed for the proliferation of the hydrogen bomb. Downey Jr is somehow able to bring some wit to this military man. 

Before the 2024 Oscars, Downey Jr was a two-time nominee. In 1993, he was nominated for a Best Actor award for starring as Charlie Chaplin in the film Chaplin. In 2009, he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor award for being Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder.

The other actors Downey Jr was up against were Killers of the Flower Moon’s Robert De Niro, Barbie’s Ryan Gosling, Poor Things’ Mark Ruffalo, and American Fiction’s Sterling K Brown.

How to Watch Robert Downey Jr’s Oppenheimer Performance

Oppenheimer is currently available to buy or rent on Apple TV

Related: The First Winner of the Oscars — Da’Vine Joy Randolph Wins Supporting Best Actress Award

Related: From 1929 to Now, These Are the Most Talked About Moments Throughout Oscars History

Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.