‘I’d Like To Thank My Terrible Childhood’


Who should you thank on stage when accepting your first ever Oscar? It’s something that actors presumably devote a lot of time to in the build-up to the fateful night, whilst also practising their most convincing ‘who, me?!’ face in the mirror.

Usually, it’s your loved ones, nearest and dearest, the director and the crew who get the shout outs, but for Robert Downey Jr. – who took home the prize of best supporting actor for his portrayal of Lewis Strauss in Oppenheimer – he took a moment to toast… his shitty childhood.

“I’d like to thank my terrible childhood and the Academy, in that order,” he began his speech at Sunday night’s ceremony, as he went on to praise his wife who “found a snarling rescue pet, and it loved me back to life… that’s why I’m here.”

Downey Jr. has spoken previously before about growing up with parents who were drug addicts, and said that his father gave him drugs at a young age; marijuana for the first time, aged six, and “a little coke” as a child. After dealing with his own addictions later on in life, he has been sober since 2003.

The 58-year-old actor also praised Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan – who picked up the big one for Best Picture for the film at the awards – and his co-stars, before emphasising how important it was to him that he was given the chance to play the chief commissioner of the Atomic Energy Commission. “Here’s my little secret,” he said. “I needed this job more than it needed me.”

Here’s Downey Jr.’s speech in full:

“Thanks fellas, that’s amazing, you only flubbed one line. I’d like to thank my terrible childhood and the Academy, in that order. I’d like to thank my—veterinarian, I meant wife Susan Downey, over there. She found me a snarling rescue pet, and it loved me back to life. And that’s why I’m here. Thank you.

“Here’s my little secret: I needed this job more than it needed me. Chris knew it, Emma made sure she surrounded me with one of the greatest cast and crews of all time; Emily, Cillian, 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 we decide to make is important.

“Back to my publicist, my agent Phillip Raskin who is here and Andrew Dunlap, my den mother, Joy Feeley, and I want to thank my stylist in case no one else does, thanks Erica and I’m just going to say this. My entertainment lawyer, Tom Hanson, of 40 years, the half of which he spent trying to get me insured and bailing me out of [trouble], thanks bro!

“Avri, Exton and Indio [his children] this one’s for you!”


Laura Martin is a freelance journalist  specializing in pop culture.


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