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Would Heath Ledger have won the Oscar had he lived?

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Showing 1-18 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 27, 2012, 4:48:59 AM PDT
Seriously, what other competition did he have that year besides Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Robert Downey Jr.? I'm not sure how The Dark Knight would have still done in theaters, but it still would have been among the best-reviewed movies of 2008, and I have a strong feeling Ledger still would have won.

Posted on May 27, 2012, 9:00:26 AM PDT
It is possible he would win one, had he lived 30 more years. I do not think anyone in a Batman movie would win an Oscar. But outside of best picture, I do not keep up with those awards.

Posted on May 27, 2012, 9:38:04 AM PDT
JMM says:
Besides Ledger, 2008 was a weak year for the Supporting Actor category. I think he still would have won the Oscar either way.

There is no question it was the best performance of the year. I did like Hoffman in "Doubt", but I think he is a distant second to Ledger's Joker. Also, I enjoyed Brad Pitt's performance in "Burn After Reading", but he was not nominated for that.

Posted on May 27, 2012, 11:09:59 AM PDT
Hikari says:
"The Dark Knight" was the "Titanic" of 2008, and Heath's Joker was a large part of its monster success. I had a friend, a real comic fanboy, who saw "TDK" no less than 14 times in the theatre. It was Ledger's perfomance that he kept going back to see, and I guess a lot of fans felt the same.

Of course it's impossible to say with certainty how much of Ledger's posthumous award was due to the sympathy vote. PSH is an Academy darling, having already won for "Capote", but "Doubt" was a small film, even with two powerhouse leads in it, and nothing like the juggernaut of TDK. I'd say chances are 70/30 in favor of a Heath win without his tragic death to sway voters. It's not my favorite performance of his, but it proves that we lost a great and versatile talent far too soon.

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2012, 12:52:30 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 27, 2012, 12:54:43 PM PDT
Hikari: A lot of people say that his performance in Brokeback Mountain was the better one, and I could see reason for it.

Shame on me, but I never saw The Dark Knight in theaters. But I've seen it about ten times since 2010 (once on a big screen format), so I'm content.

Posted on May 27, 2012, 12:56:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 27, 2012, 12:58:08 PM PDT
H: The Dark Knight was a significant force at the box office, but no Titanic--even though I have my reservations about it, it's a far better film than Romeo and Juliet Meet The Poseidon Adventure.

Given the sympathy vote, there is no question that he would win--in a way unfortunate, because I think it's a performance that doesn't quite work. Had he not died, it's much more of a tossup. The Academy dotes on Hoffman, and he would have been the odds-on favorite, although Sean Penn's performance in Milk just might have helped Josh Brolin. I would rate it more 50/50--the academy would, I think, have been inclined to wait for the next performance.

Heath's performances in Brokeback Mountain and Casanova were both better than his turn as The Joker. Although, to be fair, the script for The Dark Knight has very significant weaknesses.

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2012, 12:57:29 PM PDT
Now here's another question: Would Nolan have put Ledger in The Dark Knight Rises?
Your reply to The Dread Pirate Pastor Muppets's post:
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In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2012, 2:28:22 PM PDT
Hikari says:
I agree with you--I saw TDK once and that was plenty. I was impressed with how far out there Heath went for Joker (which sadly may have contributed to his demise), but I didn't like the way I felt after exiting the theatre.

I only meant to compare TDK to Titanic in terms of being the box office blockbuster of its year, not in any other way. TDK is superior by dint of having Gary Oldman involved, if for no other reason, but there were other reasons. Like you, I don't think Heath would have been a shoo-in had he attended the ceremony in person . . .but his death definitely made a huge impact on the voting. He was a strong contender anyway, which is why I went with 70% odds in favor. PSH would have been the spoiler, though his part wasn't nearly as showy as Ledger's.
He elevated "Brokeback Mountain" beyond a socially-trendy exercise into real heartbreaking drama. Gyllenhaal also did good work and the cinematography was stunning, but I don't know if I would have liked it so well without Heath's raw performance.

I have mentioned that my personal favorite of his is "Casanova". Heavy drama is easier to do than frothy physical comedy in many respects, even though comedy is largely underrated and underrecognized by the Academy. Heath proved by a very slender resume that he could, quite literally, play any genre. I didn't care for his Hollywood debut in "A Knight's Tale" and thought him just another pretty face at the time, but I think the script let him down there.
Changing topics, will you join me as co-host of a 'Sherlock' lounge? We could discuss all things Sherlockian. I am most keen to pick your brain about Season Two but don't want to spoil too much for other readers. We will note accordingly that there will be spoilers therein.

Posted on Jun 4, 2012, 1:27:44 PM PDT
Savage Lucy says:
I forgot he won. Somebody winning an Oscar for playing the Joker just shows how little the Oscars really mean.

My dog Downey Jr. was robbed.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012, 10:58:22 AM PDT
JCRB says:
what was Downey even nominated for?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012, 11:16:21 AM PDT
Hikari says:
Best Actor, 1992, Chaplin
Best Supporting Actor, Tropic Thunder (2008) I think Lucy is referring to this one.

RDJ was only 26 when he played Charlie Chaplin. Watch it. I'd say he might have been robbed that year, but they probably thought--eh, he's young, he'll have other chances.

Robert can do really fine dramatic work when he's not playing superhero characters. I like him personally, but think his Sherlock sucks.

Posted on Jun 7, 2012, 12:53:53 PM PDT
C. J. Vasta says:
The Tropic Thunder role was actually a lot more high concept than the Joker. While generally averse to sci-fi/fantasy/pop culture, the academy generally loves mentally ill characters including sociopaths, Nolan's pseudo-realistic approach would make the Joker a fairly normal role by Oscar standards, certainly no more outlandish than Hannibal Lecter. On the contrary, Downey was playing an Australian method actor who had dyed his skin black to portary an African-American in an Action Movie. Roles that skirt PC conventions are generally not considered Oscar Bait. I'm sure Downey knew it was an honor just to be nominated. How did he do at the MTV awards? This is the type of role that just fits better there.

Downey's youth might have been a factor if CHaplain had been a success, but it was seen as a Box Office and Crticial flop, so it was more of a nod to an emerging talent than a serious nod.

Downey is very suited to be Tony Stark. I don't think he's acting at all. On the other hand, Sherlock not so much.

Speaking of Sherlock, I'm looking forward to the upcoming Cumberbatch vs. Jonny Lee Miller debates.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012, 2:01:19 PM PDT
Hikari says:
I'd just as soon pluck out my own eyeballs and eat them on a stick as touch the Jonny Lee Miller/Lucy Liu version of Sherlock with a barge pole.

Lucy Liu is one of those actors who I just loathe on sight. I used to think she was OK, but then her monstrous self-regard got in the way. They updated 'Kono' on Hawaii 5-0 to an Asian chick . .can't they just leave it alone? My fondness for Dr. John Watson, M.D. will not allow me to accept that he could be turned into a Chinese girl named 'Joan'. Sorry, just can't go there.

Posted on Jun 7, 2012, 4:29:37 PM PDT
C. J. Vasta says:
I didn't particularly like Liu in Charlie's Angels. I didn't see enough to tell how she's going to handle a more mature role. Hopefully, she's grown as an actress.

Oddly enough, this isn't the first Sherlock Holmes in modern-day America with a female Watson. The 1980s there was a TV movie where Margaret Colin played a descendant of John Watson trying to make a living as a PI. Strapped for cash, she had to sell the ancestral home only to find a cryogenically frozen Holmes in the basement. Holmes would up setting the type of trap he managed to avoid in "The Dying Detective" and gets infected with Bubonic plague. Watson somehow figured a way to freeze Holmes until a cure is invented. Ms. Watson manages to acquire the cure in the present day, and somehow manages Holmes back with her America. I remember somehow Holmes winds up at the London Bridge monument that ispired the movie "Arizona Ripper". Holmes also asks a woman trying to pick him in a bar to explain Watergate.

Martin Freeman may be the same race and sex but I don't really think he's necesarilly a good approxmiation of the original. It's doubtful the oriignal Watson would so blatantly contraven Britain's gun laws, and he certainly woulndn't shoot an unarmaed man just because he was trying to convince Holmes to make a bad decision. Granted the character works very well for what they're trying to do., but I don't think it's any less of a distoring than portraying Watson as a female caregiver. And unliike, say Nick Fury or Jim West changing the race doesn't necessarly mean altering the back story the wildly.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012, 4:53:11 PM PDT
Q says:
>"A lot of people say that his performance in Brokeback Mountain was the better one, and I could see reason for it.<"

Personally, I like them both. They are both great performances. Actually, I don't remember ever seeing a film in which I didn't like Heath!

I don't care how many Brokeback-Haters we have out there. Heath and Jake were both awesome.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012, 4:56:55 PM PDT
Q says:
His Tropic Thunder role is nonpareil.

Posted on Jun 7, 2012, 5:01:43 PM PDT
Q says:
I love how the 'Would Heath Ledger have won the Oscar had he lived?' forum has turned into a debate over who plays the best Watson. Haha!

Speaking of Watsons...

Posted on Jun 8, 2012, 7:26:49 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 8, 2012, 4:17:17 PM PDT
Pulpman says:
Sorry Heath ledgers winning was just a hollywood joke. If he was still alive they wouldn't even have nominated him. They do not like to give out awards to comic movies if they can avoid them.
Ledger did well with the role but I am not sure I would have given it an Oscar.
On another note I have watched the film and enjoyed it many times. Solid film making and a good take on the Dark Knight.
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Discussion in:  Movie forum
Participants:  10
Total posts:  18
Initial post:  May 27, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 8, 2012

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