Robert Downey Jr. Calls Himself “One of the Best” Actors of His Generation, Predicts He’ll Win an Oscar

Robert Downey Jr. Peggy Sirota / GQ

Humility is not one of Robert Downey Jr.'s strong suits. To promote his new movie Iron Man 3, the 48-year-old actor appears on the cover of GQ's May issue — and proudly declares he's "one of the best actors" of his generation.

"But it's not that big a deal," he tells the magazine. "It's not like this is the greatest swath or generation of actors that has ever come down the pike." Downey — first nominated for an Oscar in 1993 for Chaplin and recognized again in 2009 for Tropic Thunder — says winning an Academy Award is an inevitability.

"I know it's going to happen. That's just a fact. I, personally, would be shocked if we went to the end of the tape now and I didn't have at least one," he explains. "Because it just doesn't make sense. That's why I don't mind showing up and watching everybody else get them." Downey insists he doesn't care about receiving any accolades — but he doesn't mind being honored. "I don't care. I used to think I cared, and I couldn't care less. Now, I'm not saying I wouldn't get a little choked up, but it is amazing to see how people are literally hyperventilating when they get up there, because they have such an attachment to this outcome. I mean, it's not like we're at the f-cking Olympics or something."

Downey adds, "Look, even if I don't get one directly, eventually they're just going to have to give me one when I get old. So no matter how you slice it, I'm getting one. . . I should probably have more, but zero's fine."

RDJ GQ cover
Peggy Sirota / GQ

The rehabbed star also confirms reports that he banked $50 million to play Iron Man in a slew of films. Despite the sizable paycheck, Downey insists he fought for the role because he wanted to do the comic book character justice — and have a bit of fun, too.

"Here's the thing. At whatever point I'm done with this, I'm going to have a bit of a crisis, because I probably haven't even fully ingested how much I've enjoyed it, how much it's meant," he reveals. "It so came out of kind of relative obscurity as this second-tier character from the Marvel universe, and I feel I was part of making it something more. But it also to me was just good filmmaking."

Even so, Downey knows his limits as an actor. "Everything I avoid. I don't like opening doors and looking surprised. I can do all that emo stuff, but I'm so over everyone who has to have a meltdown — everybody is emotional all the time," he tells GQ. "In movies people seem to be more emotional than they would ever be if that situation was actually happening to them."

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