Robbie Downey Jr. spoke with associate SAG Award nominees for the best-supporting actor, Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”), and Willem Dafoe (“Poor Things”) for an hour-long conversation. During the conversation, he called out lead actress Margot Robbie from “Barbie” as an actor who simply isn’t receiving the recognition she ought to get for her work this season. As the three discussed how acting for the film doesn’t always require dramatic gestures, Brown said, “I never tire of watching someone just listen on camera.”
“It never fails to impress and remind me how little you need to do to be effective,” Downey Jr. stated. “Just the simplest version of expression, that’s what the camera wants. The closer the camera gets, the more it wants it. Time and time again, it’s demonstrated that it’s super effective.”
“Margot Robbie is not getting enough credit, in my opinion,” Downey Jr. went on, citing the “Barbie” actress as one instance. “America [Ferrera] has this amazing speech. And by the way she nails it! I’m watching it and go, ‘Wow, that was a really tough one. That’s like a one act play. The whole movie hinges on it.’ But it’s the cuts away to Robbie so actively listening that I realize Greta is really on to something here. But it’s Robbie who had to trust … and it’s hard when someone who has the fucking two-page passage and they go, ‘Ok now let’s jump in and get Bob,’ and you’re like, ‘I’ve been listening to this all day and now I have to make it work!’”
Robbie’s exclusion from the Academy’s best actress competition made her one of the biggest Oscar disregards of the year. However, Ferrera did receive a nomination for an Oscar for best supporting actress as a result of Downey Jr. bringing up the narration. Ferrara expressed her disappointment to Variety about Robbie’s lack of recognition in the best actress category. As the film’s producer, Robbie is still a candidate for an Oscar in the best picture category.
“What Margot achieved as an actress is truly unbelievable,” Ferrera stated. “One of the things about Margot as an actress is how easy she makes everything look. And perhaps people got fooled into thinking that the work seems easy, but Margot is a magician as an actress in front of the screen, and it was one of the honors of my career to get to witness her pull off the amazing performance she did. She brings so much heart and humor and depth and joy and fun to the character. In my book, she’s a master.”