"I gotta few words. Hope you all brought a bag lunch," Robert Downey Jr. began, kicking off his Avengers: Infinity War speech.
"This is a miracle. And if any one of us took credit it would be heresy. It would be blasphemy." He curtsied. "Screw it … YOU'RE WELCOME."
"I want to talk about the past, present, and future. The past for me was 30 years of dependency, depravity, and despair …. otherwise known as 'An Actor Prepares!'
The present is this moment of glory for all of us. And the future…? That is always uncertain. But looking at these friends behind me, it seems like things might brighten up after all.
This is an isolated incident in the history of Hollywood. None of us are in competition with each other. We are all competing for each other — and for you.
I might go Miles Davis on you, right, Don? [he looked to co star Don Cheadle, who directed and starred in Miles Ahead, the 2015 biography of the jazz great]
If you play a superhero in one of these movies, and it works, you become a big star! And it … is … meaningless. Unless, you use that to achieve something higher. You have to take direction from peers, and your family, and occasionally even an actual director.
It's extremely dangerous, it's like a crucible. You either come out steel or dust."
Taking a quick and pointed snap at the choice to finally have a female director involved in a Marvel Studios title, Downey singled out the pair tackling Marvel's first solo-female fronted superhero film Captain Marvel, Anna Bowden and Ryan Fleck.
"Now at least half a directing team is female. Making these movies is so taxing that it is clearly a woman's job. It's essentially gestation. But we don't know how to do that," he said, waving at the men on stage.
"Wakanda rules the day and rightfully so. By the way, Wakanda forever!" he exclaimed, making the crossed-arm salute to Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman.
"I can do that as an honorary black man: Tropic Thunder, 2008!"
"This is the MCU, right in front of you. It's all about fighting for equality. The whole idea is to make space for others to succeed, and exceed our expectations.
[The movies] are inviting us to surrender and love and be of service. They are metaphors for how our world should be — or could be one day, if we fight for it."
[checking his notes] "My writing is getting more sketchy," he struggled, then speaking about Gwyneth Paltrow returning as Pepper Potts in Infinity War. "She's the very first First Lady of Marvel, and now there are many."
"When they say the man who started it all, that is you, Jon [Favreau]. You brought it to life."
Miming giving directors Joe and Anthony Russo the microphone, Downey joked the pair were on "an ICU drip" after the marathon of completing the 19th MCU film and diving right into Avengers: 4. "They have not turned to dust yet," he continued.
"I was up late. I got a tattoo — I don't want to talk about it! It's none of your business! I was up late and wrote this, and …I think this might be the greatest speech ever written!" The audience erupted into peels of laughter.
"Or maybe I'm just emo and exhausted," he concluded, hanging in head in boyish charm, and handing the microphone over.
Variety has an amazing gallery from last night, you can check it out here.
Avengers: Infinity War opens on Thursday April 27th.