Why Robert Downey Jr. and Ke Huy Quan's 2024 Oscars Moment Is Leaving Fans Divided

Robert Downey Jr. is facing online criticism over his onstage interaction with Ke Huy Quan at the 2024 Oscars, with some calling the Oppenheimer star "rude" for the exchange.

By Gabrielle Chung Mar 11, 2024 10:13 PMTags
Watch: Why Robert Downey Jr. & Ke Huy Quan’s 2024 Oscars Moment Is Leaving Fans Divided

Every eye was on Robert Downey Jr. all at once during the Oscars 2024.

The Oppenheimer star won his first-ever Academy Award on March 10, beating out Barbie's Ryan GoslingPoor ThingsMark RuffaloKillers of the Flower Moon's Robert De Niro and American Fiction's Sterling K. Brown for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role prize. (Click here to see the full list of winners.)

However, some viewers were not impressed with the way he accepted his Oscar from last year's Best Supporting Actor winner Ke Huy Quan. In video circulating on social media, Downey Jr. did not appear to make eye contact with Quan during their onstage encounter, briskly taking the award from the Everything Everywhere All at Once star before shaking presenter Tim Robbins' hand.

Downey Jr. also seemingly didn't notice Quan attempting to give him the winner's envelope, instead sharing a fist-bump with presenter Sam Rockwell before turning around to address the audience inside the Dolby Theatre. 

Oscars 2024: Red Carpet Fashion

The interaction was perceived as a snub by several social media users, with one writing on X, "Robert Downey Jr. could have been a little more responsive to Ke Huy Quan when accepting his first Oscar."

A second Oscar spectator accused Downey Jr. of being "rude," while a third critic said the exchange "showed a real lack of class."

John Shearer/WireImage

But some RDJ fans believe the blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment was "blown way out of proportion." As one X user noted, "Getting on that stage knowing you have 45 seconds to talk has to be intense ... There were four other guys on that stage, and some were his close friends."

Although the Iron Man actor's run-in with Quan was brief during the Oscars telecast, the two were actually in great spirits backstage.

In fact, Downey Jr. was photographed shaking hands with the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom alum, before the two hopped into a group selfie with Quan's fellow co-presenters. And after posing for photos in the press room, Downey Jr. was seen giving Quan a friendly hug.

Richard Harbaugh/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images; Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

Downey Jr.'s Oscar win capped off a sweeping award season, during which he also received a Golden Globe and a SAG Award earlier this year for his portrayal of former United States Atomic Energy Commission chair Lewis Strauss.

Oppenheimer also won big during the Oscars, taking home seven awards including Best Picture, Best Directing for Christopher Nolan and Best Actor in a Leading Role for Cillian Murphy.

E! News has reached out to reps for Downey Jr. and Quan for comment but hasn't heard back.

For more candid Oscars moments you may have missed, keep reading:

Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons

From the set of Fargo to the red carpet, this couple proves the power of love.

Ncuti Gatwa and Kingsley Ben-Adir

These Barbie stars brought the Kenergy.

Ke Huy Quan and Robert Downey Jr.

These winners for Best Supporting Actor know how to support each other.

Jennifer Lame

The Oppenheimer editor couldn’t edit her glowing smile after that win even if she tried.

Nicolas Cage, Cillian Murphy, Matthew McConaughey, Brendan Fraser and Forest Whitaker

This group of Best Actor in a Leading Role winners are sticking together.

Liza Koshy and Vanessa Hudgens

It seems like meeting Vanessa Hudgens was what Liza Koshy has been looking for.

Jessica Lange, Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence, Sally Field, Michelle Yeoh and Charlize Theron

2024 Best Actress winner Emma is feeling the love after she was presented the award by a group of past winners.

Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan

It proved to be a big night for the Oppenheimer producers and IRL couple, who shared a sweet moment backstage after their Best Picture win.

America Ferrera

It’s worth venturing out of Barbie Land for this selfie.

John Cena

John Cena proves he’s not afraid to commit to the bit while waiting to take the stage in his much-talked-about look. 

Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky

A worthy date night.

Danielle Brooks

The Best Supporting Actress nominee is all smiles during film’s biggest night.

Olivia Munn and John Mulaney

The couple was a perfect match in custom FENDI.

Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson certainly knows how to rock a selfie.


Zendaya proves she’s that girl—again.

Annette Bening, Lily Gladstone and Emma Stone

The trio of Best Actress nominees were feeling the love.

Finneas O'Connell, Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande

Finneas, Billie and Ariana were made for this iconic group pic.

Paul Giamatti

Paul Giamatti is all ears.

Chris Hemsworth and Anya Taylor-Joy

The costars from the upcoming Mad Max prequel Furiosa shared a sweet moment. 

Takashi Yamazaki, Kiyoko Shibuya, Masaki Takahashi and Tatsuji Nojima

The visual effects team for Godzilla Minus One delivered an award-worthy roar after their win.

Head to E! Online's Oscars page for a full recap of the 2024 Academy Awards.