Serena Freewomyn

Open Thread: Does Heath Ledger Deserve an Oscar?

Filed By Serena Freewomyn | July 26, 2008 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment, Living
Tags: Batman, Heath Ledger, Oscar buzz

So it's a little bit early for Oscar nominations, joker.jpgbut there is already a lot of buzz floating around that Heath Ledger should get a nomination for his performance in "Batman: Dark Knight."

I haven't seen the movie, nor do I plan to see the movie. But I think it's an interesting question, especially since so many of you love Batman (as proved by the response to Tyrion's "When Batman was Gay" post). I leave it to you, Projectors. Can a dead guy win the Oscar? We all know he became a gay favorite after his Oscar nominated role in Brokeback Mountain, but was this latest performance up to the standard?

What do you think? Does Heath Ledger Deserve an Oscar? Video after the jump...

Here's a trailer with a little scary Joker action to refresh your memories, Projectors:

iPhone users: Click to watch

And here's an interview with Ledger about his role in The Dark Knight:

iPhone users: Click to watch

So what do you think?

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I haven't seen the movie yet, but all the trailers look like Ledger did an amazingly creepy job at playing the joker. I'm not sure it was Oscar worthy until I see it, but he was an amazing actor.

What a sad loss...

Bobs Friend | July 26, 2008 1:10 PM

I saw TDK last week and was just astounded by it -- and this is coming from someone who normally finds "action" flicks boring and avoids them like the plague. Ledger played the Joker as the quintessential 21st century villain without a single misstep.

Of course it will be too little too late. He should have won the Oscar two years ago for Ennis del Mar in Brokeback Mountain, but he still deserves the recognition for what he did in TDK. If they make any more Batman movies, his performance will be an impossible act to follow.

For supporting actor, perhaps. But in a Batman movie, is the lead actor not the actor who portrays Batman/Bruce Wayne? The Joker would be a supporting actor.

Oscars have been granted posthumously. Peter Finch won Best Actor for "Network". James Dean was nominated for "East of Eden" and "Giant", and Spencer Tracy for "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?" after passing.

I haven't seen the movie yet, can't judge the performance. I'm a victim of my age, I still think of Batman as Adam West, and the Joker as Cesar Romero.

Deserving and award and actually getting one rarely coincide.

I saw TDK last weekend and will see it again - this time on IMAX - on Sunday.

If it weren't for the constant hype of the film and Ledgers performance I wouldn't have known it was him playing the role. He does a great job and it has as much to do with his performance as it does with the writing.

The Dark Knight was exciting, shocking, suspenseful, and relevant to the current state of the world. Christopher Nolan made a great film that is worth the hype. That's not easy to do. Even if Ledger doesn't get acknowledged for his performance because of the politics of posthumous nominations, Nolan should definitely get a few.

They both deserve a nomination.

Yes! Yes! Yes! (Is that a good enought answer?) Yes! (For good measure.)

Nathanial | July 26, 2008 5:19 PM

The Oscars (ever since their invention) have been purely about self-promotion by the studios. Marlon Brando did the right thing to refuse his.

In short, who cares how the Academy votes? It's not as if it actually *matters*, any more than it mattered that they overlooked Ledger in BBM. (Did you know The Man Who Would Be King never won a single Oscar? Doesn't detract from the fact that it's a true classic.)

What do I think? I think that if you haven't seen the movie and don't plan to, you should also plan on not writing about it.

Heath Ledger's performance was amazing. I saw the movie twice and plan to see it again.

What is likely to happen is that the stodgy folks who get to vote for the Oscar will see the film as just action film based on comic book characters and therefore not something worthy of an Academy Award for Ledger.

Or if you plan on just being a jerk, you could skip commenting.

I can't answer yet - we have our tickets for tomorrow's IMAX showing. I'll be sure to come back and give my opinion on the movie. :)

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 27, 2008 4:44 AM

The other actors who died, and were awarded Oscars, were not found to have died of a drug overdose. Dealing with celebrity is very hard for talented people as he certainly was, but much of the attention this movie is getting has to be due to the fact that he has died and people have a ghoulish fascination. I'll wait until I can get a pirate copy on the street for $3.00 which will be in fifteen minutes.

I was a skeptic when I first heard of, and then saw trailers for, The Dark Knight.

I saw the movie, though, and Ledger's more-f*cked-up-than-I-thought-possible Joker won me over.

If he gets the Oscar, I can't imagine there being any other performance this year worthy of complaining about it going to Ledger.

I too was skeptical at first. I thought that the only reason they were mentioning an Oscar for Heath was because of his death. Normally I'm not big into comic book movies, but I had to see for myself what all the hype was about. After seeing the movie I think he truly deserves it. If I had not known it, I would not have guessed it was him at all. For me he stole the show despite the amount of time he was actually on screen. He did an amazing job really getting into character and playing a sick and twisted villain. I can see why he was so disturbed by the role. It's sad that we lost him at such a young age. He was brilliant and will be missed.

The other actors who died, and were awarded Oscars, were not found to have died of a drug overdose.

Ledger did not die of a drug overdose --- he died from unfortunate prescription drug interactions.

He might be accused of over-using prescription drugs, but he did not intentionally kill himself (at least, there is no evidence of that) nor was his death a simple unintentional overdose.

My point being, IMHO, there is no legitimate reason for anyone to be judgmental about his death.

No fun on the other end | July 27, 2008 7:05 PM

To quote a previous commenter: "sick and twisted villian". Hmm. Do we want to reward someone for playing a "sick and twisted villian" well, but not for having played Ennis del Mar well? That really, really bothers me. It's lousy values if you ask me. Which movie advances the culture more: "The Dark Knight" or "Brokeback Mountain"?

I have no plans of seeing "The Dark Knight." If there weren't real-life sociopaths, maybe. But as a victim of (real) violence myself, I am nauseated by people being entertained by stories of sociopaths.

It's just not so thrilling and entertaining and "a great time at the movies" if you've actually experienced what's being portrayed.

And some people's lack of empathy for real-life victims of violence depresses me...

If Heath Ledger had been bothered and disturbed by what he was doing, I'd say that's a good, authentic, and healthy emotion. Maybe if he hadn't been put into that position he would have been more careful with his medication.

Maybe people's consciousness would be raised if they sat in on meetings of Parents of Murdered Children and Other Survivors of Homicide.

I'm sorry to hear you were a victim of violence, and you're right it's probably best you not see this movie.
However I don't think you are right in saying movies such as this should not be made for entertainment purposes. There are many people who experience horrific events that are portrayed in movies, but that does not mean we should censor them. If anything it gets people talking about the issue portrayed, and that's the only way to bring about change.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 28, 2008 12:26 AM

Allen, I am not being judgmental when I say that he died of a drug overdose. I doubt he intended to kill himself, but the manner of his death caused much attention to come to this last movie role. He was reported to be quite despondent over the break up of his marriage, unable to sleep without medications, and, as I stated, "dealing with celebrity."

I think that the real question is whether or not Ledger would even be considered for an Oscar had be not died.

With all due respect to Ledger and his family and fans, I think that the sadness we all felt at his unfortunate death has clouded the judgement of many. TDK was his last film, and I can understand people wanting to honor Ledger, but any award given to Ledger should be based on the quality of his acting, not based on the fact that he is dead.