With 'Iron Man 3' on the way we take stock of his best work
The year: 1992
The role: Hollywood legend Charlie Chaplin
The reason it’s on the list: Picking Downey’s first Oscar-nominated (and BAFTA-winning) role may seem a dully obvious choice. I myself have often criticized the Academy for being overly impressed by the technical exercise of one famous person playing another. But while the film is a pretty rote biopic, Downey’s take on silent cinema’s biggest star is colored with playfulness and soulful empathy; rather than offering a mere impersonation, the actor uses his own love of performing to articulate Chaplin’s, and his own artistic demons to similar effect. Downey doesn’t disappear into Chaplin, but filters him through his own star quality.
- Guy Lodge