Downey Jr, 58, was recently nominated for the Best Supporting Actor prize for his performance as Admiral Lewis Strauss, the chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission, in Christopher Nolan’s epic Oppenheimer.
The film, about the nuclear arms race, swept the Academy Award nominations this year, earning 13 nods in total. Cillian Murphy, who played the father of the atomic bomb J Robert Oppenheimer, is up for best actor, while Christopher Nolan is in the running for best director.
Appearing on an episode of the US talk show The View on Wednesday (24 January), the three-time Oscar nominee was asked about previous comments when he said winning the Best Actor prize for his performance as Charlie Chaplin in Richard Attenborough’s 1992 biopic Chaplin “would have been the worst thing”.
He ultimately lost the award to Al Pacino for his performance in Scent of a Woman that year.
Reflecting on his first Academy Award nomination, and subsequent loss, he said: “I was young and crazy and it would have put me under the impression that I was on the right track.
“Whoopi remembers,” he added, addressing host and fellow Oscar-honoree Whoopi Goldberg.
She responded: “We were on that track together.”
Downey Jr has previously said he lived through “30 years of dependency, depravity, and despair” before making his comeback as the star of Marvel’s Iron Man.
The Oscar nominee, and one of the world’s most successful actors, Downey Jr made headlines in the late Nineties and early 2000s after he was arrested and jailed over drug-related charges.
He has spoken openly about his struggles with drug addiction before becoming sober in July 2003.
Elsewhere in his appearance on The View, Downey Jr praised Goldberg as one of the “all-time great scene partners” and that he learnt a lot about keeping comedy grounded from his Soapdish co-star.
He also said he “couldn’t believe” his Oppenheimer co-star Emily Blunt had never been nominated for an Academy Award before this year.
Blunt is one of the contenders for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Kitty Oppenheimer, the scientist’s sidelined wife.
Downey Jr said: “I was obviously so happy for all 13 nominations but I couldn’t believe it was Emily Blunt’s first Oscar nomination, and it’s just incredible.”
He said she was “dropping her kids off at school” when she learnt she had been nominated, and husband John Krasinski “pulled her away from some other parents to let her know”.
The Oscar nominations were livestreamed from Los Angeles on Tuesday (23 January), ahead of the awards ceremony on 10 March.