Hollywood stars and studio executives alike stepped out in Beverly Hills on Friday night to honor the impressive body of work that sums up the career to date of Robert Downey Jr.
Each year, the American Cinematheque, a non-profit cultural organization, presents the esteemed award to “an extraordinary artist in the entertainment industry who is fully engaged in his or her work and is committed to making a significant contribution to the art of the Moving Picture,” according to the organization’s press materials.
The “Iron Man” star told Access Hollywood he was “thrilled” to be in the company of his closest friends and family, many of whom took the stage as presenters.
Speeches from those dear to the actor included, father Robert Downey Sr., pregnant wife Susan Downey and industry friends Jon Favreau, Guy Ritchie and Michael Douglas. His friends and family rehashed the tale of the troubled actor and how proud they were of him for overcoming stints in prison and rehab to get his life back on track and resurrect his career as well.
“Right now things are kind of tipping my way, and I guess you’re supposed to enjoy that,” Downey Jr., 46, told Access on the red carpet.
Longtime friend and previous American Cinematheque award winner Jodie Foster, who directed Robert in 1995’s “Home for the Holidays,” was one who recounted trying to help the actor in his darker days.
“He’s an amazing actor, and he’s impossible to walk away from. He’s kind and extraordinary and talented,” Foster told Access. “He was wonderful in our film, and I never had a bad day with him.”
However, the night wasn’t without comedy – something the actor has excelled at during his acting tenure in films like “Due Date” and “Tropic Thunder.”
A humorous clip of Mel Gibson, Jamie Foxx and Garry Shandling preempted the night’s events, and coupled with speeches from Jennifer Aniston, Jack Black and producer Joel Silver, who recounted a particularly funny story from the set of their first movie together, Downey Jr. was in fits of laughter the entire night.
But Robert told Access prior to the event that he was prepared for the friendly ribbing.
“I’m a little bit on the inside of this, so I know something about how the evening is going,” he said. “I expect nothing less.”
Though the event highlighted clips of some of his best cinematic work, when asked what film he is most proud of, Downey Jr. replied, “My favorite movie is always the next one – so ‘Sherlock 2.’”
“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” which hits theaters on December 16, isn’t his only film that he’s looking forward to this coming year.
The honoree also hinted at what fans can expect in “Iron Man 3.”
“It’s going to be a really, really exciting bit of storytelling,” Robert said. “I won’t be surprised if it’s the best of the three.”
The 46-year-old actor, who is a standout in recently released “The Avengers” trailer, told Access he impressed to see the sneak peak.
“[The trailer] turned out well,” Downey Jr. said. “It’s been a fun week.”