Naomi Watts, now confirmed as an Oscar nominee for Best Actress, has been quietly campaigning for The Impossible, and it’s paid off by landing her the trifecta—SAG, Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. So can she win? As Lainey pointed out, Watts has an advantage with her peers—they know her, they respect her, they actually like her. And now, they’re getting vocal for her.

Last night on stage at the People’s Choice Awards, accepting his trophy for Favorite Male Movie Actor, Robert Downey Jr. stopped to say, “Naomi Watts is so fantastic in The Impossible, by the way, I just want to hand it to her right now. Easily one of my favorite performances of the year.”

An endorsement doesn’t come much bigger than that. The room at the PCAs is not industry heavy, but they all watch what RDJ does. By the end of the night, everyone knew what he said. And with some of them—with many of them—what RDJ says matters. Like Lainey says, RDJ IS The Establishment these days. A ten-second comment on stage at the PCAs will result in Academy members taking a second look at Watts (or even a first look—it’s amazing how many will nominate without having seen but a handful of films), just because RDJ told them to. If it impressed him, they’ll think, maybe it will impress me, too.

Watts is a real threat in that category, but she still has some work to do. I’ve never been sold on Jennifer Lawrence as an inevitable winner for Silver Linings Playbook—the Academy denied Kate Winslet at the same stage in her career—and while Jessica Chastain may be the current favorite, Zero Dark Thirty came up a little short this morning and it’s getting hammered on the political angle. The Academy isn’t in love with it the way they were with The Hurt Locker, which could blow back onto Chastain. The door is open for Watts, and RDJ is standing with her, practically declaring who he’ll be voting for. (Lainey: as Jennifer Lawrence watched from the audience!) Will the Academy follow suit?

RDJ is THE BEST Item No. 73: He used his thank-you time at the PCAs to acknowledge a long-time fan that had recently passed away. What other actor of his caliber or stature would do that?