Favreau, who directed Downey in the first two Iron Man movies and co-starred in all three (along with Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Endgame, and the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home) as Happy Hogan, was asked by Variety if he thinks that his longtime friend should get the nod from the Motion Picture Academy.
"He has my vote for sure,” Favreau replied. “I think he was able to discover and explore dimensions of the character over the course of many, many films. ... 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."
Favreau added, "I’m glad I got to be a part of it and be there for those meaningful scenes as an actor, but also to be there as a friend, and to watch him explore things deeply through a character [when] you don’t normally have that opportunity. And he took full advantage of it."
Downey truly did do something wonderful with Tony Stark over the course of 11 years and nine films. The character started out in his 2008 debut as a vain, self-centered, somewhat amoral weapons manufacturer and finished out his journey this year in Endgame as a hero in every sense of the word, a human being willing to sacrifice everything — including his life — to save the world around him.
While Oscars are not given out for a body of work (except for special lifetime achievement honors), the award buzz that Variety says is out there for Downey would be for his performance in Endgame, but it could also be seen as a tribute to his overall commitment to excellence and depth in the role during the past decade-plus.
The question is: Will the Academy hand a Best Actor nomination to an actor playing a superhero? The only actor to date to win an Oscar for his work in a superhero film was the late Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight, but he was playing the Joker, a villain. No actor has ever received an Oscar nomination for playing a superhero, which frankly needs to change if the performances are worthy, whatever the genre (a case could be made that Hugh Jackman should have been a nominee last year for Logan).
Do you agree with Jon Favreau that Downey deserves a nomination? Which other actors and actresses in superhero or other genre movies would you consider awards-worthy this year?