Heath Ledger Oscar buzz begins

Batman: the Dark Knight hasn’t premiered yet and Heath Ledger’s performance is already garnering high praise. The word Oscar was thrown into the ring by Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers.

It’s typical of Ledger’s total commitment to films as diverse as Brokeback Mountain and I’m Not There that he does nothing out of vanity or the need to be liked. If there’s a movement to get him the first posthumous Oscar since Peter Finch won for 1976′s Network, sign me up. Ledger’s Joker has no gray areas — he’s all rampaging id.

[Rolling Stone]

In fact the entire movie review is about Ledger, not the main character Batman. Bale’s portrayal of the black masked hero has taken a back seat to the pure brilliance and flat out talent that Heath radiates in the new thriller. Former “Batman” movies were, in my opinion, cheesy at best. Gotham city was a playground for neon encrusted villains who turned a superhero thriller into a hokey dramedy. There is reportedly nothing funny about the darker and deeper version that Christopher Nolan has brought to life. The new addition to the superhero hype has fast become one of the most anticipated movies of the summer.

Christian Bale, who plays Batman, spoke with Parade about his work with Heath. He sang his co-star’s praises and hopes that Heath’s work as the Joker will be celebrated and be given the respect it deserves.

“I hope in a small way that The Dark Knight can be a celebration of his work,” he says. “Not like the hideous circus after he died, which I felt was an invasion of a private life. This movie is not a personal home video. This is what he did. I hope people will embrace that in the correct fashion.”

[From Parade Magazine via People.com]

Judging from the trailers and reviews for the film, his performance will speak for itself. When I first heard Heath was cast as the Joker, I immediately thought “Really? That scrawny pretty man is going to be the ham sandwich-crazy Joker?” I stand corrected.

The Dark Knight is out in the US on July 18.

Here are two trailers:

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

39 Responses to “Heath Ledger Oscar buzz begins”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Ron says:

    Par for the course, Hollywood liked the guy and he was a talented actor. However, by the time nominations come around this movie will be old news and he will have been gone for a year. That’s a loooooooong time in Hollywood.

  2. Anni says:

    i was really looking forward to see this movie…but it will be a bitter sweet experience. heath nailed the joker, he did. bless him.

  3. KateNonymous says:

    As soon as I heard Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker, I thought, “That’s really interesting. I can totally see him in that role.” It’s just too bad that he isn’t here to experience the outcome of all of his work, and to continue on. What a loss.

  4. Hollz says:

    i just bought a joker poster- the “why so serious” one- i love it!! I can’t wait to see the movie, and think Health will be brilliant!

  5. LL says:

    This is not to be negative towards Mr. Ledger, but this is the second time Christian Bale has basically been ignored in this franchise. The first time was during the “Tom and Katie” blitz and he was barely mentioned as being in the film during the press events and now this. I think he is generous and I am sure Mr. Ledger is great, but still, the Star is Christian Bale.

  6. vdantev says:

    Uh….no. He’s dead and that’s a shame, but that shouldn’t color an Oscar decision in the slightest. There are many actors of higher caliber than he, with more years in the business, cold and buried in the ground who’ve never held the little gold statue.

  7. snappyfish says:

    I would be surprised if they nominated him for ‘Dark Knight’, it isn’t the type of movie the academy usually likes.

    They usually choose the “Brokeback Mountain” and “Braveheart” types over the comic book variety.

    Ledger was a v v gifted actor. Just a sad sad situation. I saw a photo of Matilda the other day…she is spitting image of her father.

  8. Because I say So says:

    I agree with LL. Christian deserves his due in his own right. He’s beyond brilliant– if Heath hadn’t died so unexpectedly, would all of this Oscar buzz be generated? Not to take away from his talent, but let’s get serious here.

  9. Kristin says:

    LOL @ vdantev. The Oscars have become such a joke.

    And he does deserve an oscar. He was brilliant in everything he did.

  10. Dingles says:

    Every time I see the Dark Knight previews I just feel so sad and pissed. What an amazing actor lost too soon, and in a selfish way I’m sorry that I will not be able to enjoy Heath’s performances for years to come- the talent we’ve seen so far was just the tip of the iceberg.

    If he wins that oscar it will be well deserved.

  11. velvet elvis says:

    You people who are saying he deserves an Oscar…you haven’t even seen the movie so how do you know!?

  12. Danielle says:

    I probably won’t be able to watch this movie. I can’t even watch A Knight’s Tale without feeling like I’m literally watching a dead man. It just kind of creeps me out. The fact that he’s playing the Joker will probably only amplify this for me tenfold. No doubt he was full of talent, but it’s haunting.

  13. Sol says:

    If he deserves it he should have it!

  14. xiaoecho says:

    Christian Bale is an acting non-entity and Heath acted him off the screen; consequently there is no buzz about him – it’s called charisma or the ‘It’ factor and if you havn’t got it on screen the audience is going to look at the other guy no matter how ‘good’ your acting
    To be in regular work you need to be a good actor but without the ‘It’ factor, you’ll only ever be a hack

  15. Trashaddict says:

    I have seen appallingly large billboards with Health’s cadaverous Joker in sky-high images. It’s really kind of a sick comment on Hollywood, to have the dead guy up there looking like a corpse. I only hope that his daughter is too young to really notice them, or if she does, makes no connection of that image to her dad. Oh well, “the Show Must Go On” (translation: the investment must pay off).

  16. darius says:

    1. Heath seems absolutely brilliant in the trailers. I was literally blown away when I saw them. It’s difficult to determine whether or not he should be nominated for an oscar solely based on his several lines in the trailer, but if the trailer is an indication of his overall performance, I think he should, and will, receive a nomination.

    2. Christian Bale is a fairly good actor as well. People shouldn’t get their panties in a tie just because the producers are using an advertising technique by playing Heath’s role up. So the trailers emphasize Heath’s performance over Christian’s. That’s expected. Calm Down.

  17. Snowblood says:

    Heath Ledger during filming of this Batman movie was already getting all kinds of “underground” ecstatic rave reviews by Batman fanatics and film lovers; check out FilmDrunk.com and look at the archives of anything related to the making of The Dark Knight back when it was being made, and all you see and read about is Heath Ledger and his incredibly complex, interesting & real Joker portrayal.

    Christian Bale, to me, has always been one of those “meh” actors, looks nice, does a good job, etcetera but as Xiaoecho says, without that “It” factor, if you’re gonna co-star across someone who has it, and you don’t, then forget it. Bale doesn’t have that factor, Ledger does – did.

    I get so frustratedly upset and sincerely sad when true artists suddenly die, like Ledger did, and before him like Cobain, like Tupac, the brilliant ones who just up and die in the prime of their artistic output. It fuckig pisses me off. Why can’t the useless morons knock off early, and the valuable irreplacable true artists hang around longer? Unfair, this life we live, sometimes. So unfair…

  18. geronimo says:

    Wow, can understand the pro-Heath sentiments here but not the anti-Bale. Personally think Bale is a superb actor, and very very underrated.

    Re Heath, if it’s a performance worthy of an Oscar, then great but as long as it’s for that reason, and not sentiment masquerading as objectivity. And it’s not as if Ledger was short of awards, nominations or accolades when he was alive so a posthumous award, if he wins one, won’t make any difference to his legacy. But he was a fantastic actor, no question.

  19. Emily says:


  20. RAN says:

    I’m not even sure I can watch the movie because I feel sad each time I see how animated Heath is as the Joker on the trailers.

    Part of me just says that an award/Oscar, at this point, would just be bittersweet – more bitter if you ask me.

  21. Kolby says:

    Christian Bale is one of the great actors of this generation. He inhabits the characters he plays like few other actors, and he is known for choosing roles less for the amount of money or hype they’ll generate him and more for the work itself. Anyone who doesn’t think so hasn’t seen The Machinist or American Psycho. And the “it” factor comments are laughable – we’re talkng about one of the most beautiful men in the world here.

    And Heath Ledger was a talented actor, with tremendous potential, but unfortunately he died too soon for us to know if he wold have ever been truly “great.”

    I’ll be seeing The Dark Knight – if it’s half as good as Batman Begins, it’ll be one hell of a show.

  22. tana says:

    always liked Heath but Christian bale is way ahead in terms of breathtaking performances. See the film where he plays a vato in la — amazing.

  23. Bodhi says:

    Both Bale & Ledger are/were amazing actors & very deserving of the praise they recieved. Honestly, I doubt that Bale minds being “overshadowed” by a very good friend, much less one who recently died.

    As for the Oscar buzz, while I don’t doubt for a second Ledger’s acting ability or his worthiness to get an Oscar, I hope that he isn’t given one just because we all lost someone way too soon. (I feel awful saying that, but its true)

    And Praise Jeebus Kat(i)e Holmes is gone! She was so terrible in the 1st movie her scenes were painful to watch. Maggie is a FAR superior actor

  24. geronimo says:

    Or ‘Rescue Dawn’, Kolby. Stunning Oscar worthy performance in that.

  25. Sahaha says:

    I’ve got one word……..NEWSIES!!!! :lol:

  26. xiaoecho says:

    The ‘It’ factor has nothing whatsoever to do with beauty or looks. Kolby, you’ve completely missed the point – you either get it or you don’t…..I take nothing away from Bale – he’s a really good actor , but he doesn’t have any ‘It’: that is why the Oscar buzz is about Ledger (dead or alive, as Snowblood pointed out)and not about Bale

    Amy Winehouse could not be called pretty but she’s beautiful because she’s got ‘It’ in spades

    You either get it or you don’t

  27. Bodhi says:

    NEWIES!!! Now THAT was a spectacular movie! And of course Little Women…

  28. CNH says:

    Ha! Yes, I loved Newsies! Best movie ever….well one of them anyway. I have to agree with xiaoecho. Bale is superb, but lacks that vavoom. He comes across, to me, as a bit unwilling to let his hair down. He should totally go on SNL and sing Santa Fe. I would then be all about an Oscar for him. =)

  29. Jack Henry says:

    Reviewers are afraid to mention that this role was performed at the height of Ledger’s drug addiction. Describing Ledger’s performance Christian Bale told the AP “It’s like he’s gone through that personal hell to come out being this…” Too bad no one on the production offered to help Ledger, people on the set could see what he was going through, instead they just wanted the intense performance his drug-fueled life was giving the film. That’s Hollywood for ya.

  30. SandraD says:

    I agree with Kolby and co. Heath is a great actor and Im sure his performance in The Dark Knight will be awesome, but that doesnt mean Christian Bale by any means is less of an actor.

    Anyone that has seen American Pyscho, The Machinist, or any of the other movies mentioned above could not possibly say that this man does not have the “It” factor. You dont find his commitment and versitility in many actors. Plus he seems like a genuinely nice guy, who stays out of trouble, and he sure isnt bad to look at! ;)

    Oh, and Newsies will forever remain one of my all time fav movies! “Did you hear that fellas? I asked Jack how he slept, and he said ‘On me back Moose!’”

  31. Ron says:

    The “it” factor is not something you get. You can’t just walk up to the counter and order a helping of “it”. The “it” factor is something innate that you have. Most actors/singers/directors of Bale or Ledgers standing have “it”, otherwise they wouldn’t be where they are now. However, some like Winehouse, exploit it and do things that get them press etc etc. Both Bale and Ledger, have stayed out of the spotlight in their private lives. The only reason people think Heath has more “it” than Bale is because he had a tragic young death. Nothing can make you larger than life like that, think about James Dean. Hot guy, 3 movies, tragic car accident and he’s a legend. If he was doddering around today at the folks home, no one would give a sh*t about his “it”.

  32. xiaoecho says:

    “….If he was doddering around today at the folks home, no one would give a sh*t about his “it”….”
    Ron….thanx 4 a great belly laugh

  33. Nightbird says:

    To the writer of the article…

    Scrawny Heath Ledger would be an accurate portrayal of The Joker. In the comics, the Joker is tall and lanky. In fact, many fanboys were wanting Crispin Glover in the role.

    However, I think Ledger will do an outstanding job, as Jack Nicholson did, even though Jack Nicholson bodywise is nowhere near the comic book Joker.

  34. I choose me says:

    I agree with geronimo, as I so often do. Still sad about Heath’s passing.

  35. Beetee says:

    Talk about dedication… being holed up alone in a hotel room conceptualizing a new Joker (far from Jack Nicholson’s version)

    Possibly being mentally affected by the role. 8O

    You bet he deserves that Oscar.

    Joker claims another victim…

  36. lexie says:

    I have admired Heath Ledgers acting for quite some time from “Candy” to “10 things I hate about you” and so forth, you fans know all his movies. Watching this youngs man talent grown is abseloutely superb right up until Brokeback Mountain” and I am not saying that because he is no longer with us–it would not change my opinion about his acting talents that grew to perfection and could have above and beyond in my opinion if he were still alive. He should have won an award for Brokeback Mountain and even though he did not he was destined to at some point and I think any Hollywood Producer or Director knows that but many will not admit it maybe….sadly I do not know why. I am going to see Dark Knight this week and i will make my opinion then not because Heath is dead now sadly but I will because if I think he does a great job that just leaves me with my jaw dropped then I will say YES. It makes me sick to think that they will not honor a dead actor IF he is Oscar worthy……why not for gods sake………..just because they did not do it in the past does not mean this can be done now and going forward into the future. IF Heath Ledger or any actor is worthy of a nomination dead or alive then award it them. It’s not as if we have actors dying every month or 6 months or every year that could be Oscar worthy and IF he is worthy of it then award to his memory. He workded hard enough for it like every other actor has done so in all the movies that will be up for nomination so I just do not understand the big deal in not awarding “anyone” who deserves an Oscar but had the unfortunate tradgey of thier life cut short. Why does everything have to be analysed and chewed up and spat out. IT an Oscar for gods sake for outstanding work. Let credit be due where it is due IF Heath is nominated and does win. Who is it going to hurt…….NO-ONE. There are far bigger things to make a big deal about in this world and for HOllYWOOD to spend wasteful time whether they should or whether they should not is just sad and pathetic. Take out your old strict hardened rules because this young man is dead and it has never been done and IF you Hollywood people in your heart think he deserves it ..please award it to him –I say this if it were any actor not just Heath Ledger. I am sure it would be a different story if they were related to him in any way or if one of their own was in Heaths sad and tragic loss. TRust me someone in Hollywood would find a way to make it happen. Someone in Hollywood please stand up for what is RIGHT and not for “oh should we do this –what will happen if…blah blah blah”……Just my opinion. I look forward to the movie and I hope he is spectacular in this role that he made different which seems to have taken a more deeper and challenging approach. (no disrespect to Jack Nicolson at all–love him too) but come on Hollywood wake up and give repect to those who made you millions…………and millions. Being dead does not make it right to say NO.—-Do America proud and the world.!!!!!!!!!!!!lexie

  37. Tony A. says:

    THE DARK KNIGHT is a phenomenon. It has toppled STAR WARS and is now ranked #2 on the top grossing movies of all-time. It is on its way to grossing 500 million dollars in the U.S. alone! And it features the controversial swan song of Heath Ledger, former heartthrob who killed that teen image by playing a gay cowboy in the risque Brokeback Mountain and a psychotic Joker in The Dark Knight. These were a far cry from the GOD awful KNIGHTS TALE! I saw Dark Knight with my daughter. I wanted to see if this Hollywood “hunk” could hold his own against an old master like Jack Nicholson. Jesus! Ledger hit it out of the ballpark! He stole the fucking movie! And he made Nicholson’s Joker come off as a juvenille ass-clown! I had tears in my eyes as the movie ended because this was the last we would see of Ledger. I then saw Dark Knight a second time because the film is complex and you do miss things the first time around. It was a matinee showing. The kids got scared when Ledger popped out as The Joker and the grownups laughed at everything he said or did. It truly is a masterful performance and yes Heath Ledger should win The Academy Award For Best Actor because he proved his mettle as a “serious actor” having come a long way from playing Mel Gibson’s son in The Patriot. RIP Mr. Ledger. GOD bless you and keep you and thank you for giving us the true Joker.

  38. tnnuke says:

    Why would The Academy want to set the example of rewarding a drug addict by giving him an Oscar posthumously? To me it is like letting the pro-athletes, juiced on steroids, into the Hall of Fame. It’s just not fair and sends a very bad message to our children. I may be wrong though. Hollywood is full of Vampires and hey, look how much money that movie is making!

  39. Tony A. says:

    Wow Tnnuke you really are a retard! First off,get your facts straight asswipe! Heath Ledger was NOT a drug addict. He overdosed on Prescribed Drugs. Second,no evidence of heroin use was found at the death scene. So before you slam a dead guy who cannot defend himself you better check your resourses pal! Shame on you for bringing pain to Ledger’s familiy and fans who loved him!