Of course, the role in "Tropic Thunder" is comedic, a politically incorrect spoof on Method acting run amok. Downey plays an Australian actor so committed to the truth that he has his skin medically darkened so he can portray an African American commando.
Still, he admits, even he did a double take Tuesday when he saw his name among the nominations "and then Sgt. Lincoln Osiris's face," Downey says of the part within a part.
"It was odd," he adds. "I had such trepidation fully trusting [the character] could be represented well enough that it wouldn't be troublesome. That people would get joke. We were always on some level wondering if people will misunderstand our intention. I feel this award is one for the team. We worked [hard] to give it the right tone."
Downey, who was nominated previously for the title role in 1992's "Chaplin," says "it would be really self-important to draw comparisons" between his Oscar nomination and Barack Obama's swearing in. "One is hugely significant and the other is a bit of a surprise within the inner sanctum of the entertainment business."
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