Most felony convictions by a major actor? That award might go to Downey, who was arrested at least a half-dozen times for drug use and related offenses, and logged many months in prison or rehab. As he explained to one judge: “It’s like I have a loaded gun in my mouth and my finger’s on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gunmetal.” During this stretch, Downey’s 1993 Oscar nomination for playing Charlie Chaplin seemed like ancient history for a man who didn’t see much of a future in movies or on earth. But his performances were always shrewd, energetic and knotty; movie people usually thought him worth taking a chance on, even if insurance companies didn’t. Now apparently drug-free, Downey has entered the most potent part of his career: carrying a high-IQ action film as Iron Man‘s arms merchant and earning a Golden Globe nomination as Tropic Thunder‘s Method actor in blackface. Everyone’s favorite character actor looks poised to become a flat-out star.