With 'Iron Man 3' on the way we take stock of his best work
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6. "Tropic Thunder"
The year: 2008
The role: Dedicated method actor Kirk Lazarus
The reason it's on the list: Downey picked up his second Oscar nomination to date for his outrageous portrayal of a, shall we say, highly committed actor in Ben Stiller's "Tropic Thunder." And 2008 was very much his year, with "Iron Man" launching the summer box office in May and August bringing this unexpected slice of brilliance. Might he have won the Academy Award if Heath Ledger weren't in the mix? We'll never know, but it's possible. Everyone started rooting for him again and, what's more, he was backing it up with real chops -- not that we would have expected anything less.
- Kristopher Tapley