Yes folks, I finally saw the Dark Knight. And, although there is talk of the Oscar for our recently departed Heath Ledger, I gotta admit….I was disappointed that this is how his career ended.
Now, for those of you that have been living in a hovel, we lost Heath Ledger tragically this year to an idiot move. Yes, I’ll say it. He made a dumb mistake. He wasn’t suicidal, he was stupid. An accidental overdose ended the career of this actor that started out in Australian film and television in 1992.
Back to Dark Knight though. The talk through the lab was lit with how truly fantastic this movie was. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been following the Batman series since Tim Burton, and do believe that the Nolan brothers are the ones that have really started a franchise. Heath Ledger brought a creepiness to the Joker, similar but different than Jack Nicholson did back in 1989. Yes, it was that long ago. Ledger’s performance in this movie was legendary, something definitely worth bringing nightmares to even the strongest of watchers, but was it Oscar worthy?
The Oscars have been weird as of late, they are funny…you can’t quite tell what’s going to happen. According to the Oscars website (www.oscar.com) Daniel Day Lewis won last year for his role in There Will Be Blood. Now, as a self-proclaimed movieaholic, I’ve got to admit that I wasn’t all together wowed by his performance, but he’s always been an extremely strong character actor.
Ledger encompassed this character, he really did. Reports say that even when he was just on the set, he was still in character, still as the Joker. But, let’s be honest, the closest thing to an action film that has been nominated last year was Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Bleeker Street. Now, don’t get me wrong, I thought Johnny Depp did a fabulous job…but still it’s hard to come up with a straight action film that has been nominated for an Oscar…I mean, I don’t remember Bruce Willis standing up and shouting that he won.
Don’t get me wrong, Ledger was a fabulous actor, getting his real break in the American market in 1999 with 10 Things I Hate About You, which was a remake of Taming of the Shrew, and gained acclaim with his roles in The Patriot, and A Knight’s Tale. I have loved his work, was devastated when he died, but the Joker was a sad thing for him to finish on. I guess it’s because we’re just not used to him working the villain. He mastered this role, he really did. His portrayal of the true raw nature of something so damaged, something evil for the pure sense of it, was just masterful, but for someone on the outside looking in, would the Oscar go to him just cause?
Ledger will definitely go down as one of the top villains of all time for his portrayal as the Joker. Alan Eckhardt gave a great performance as Harvey Dent, and yes, even Christian Bale did well in his return as Batman. Michael Caine has always been one of my reasons for returning to the Batman series, and he continued not to disappoint. I just worry that people are going to give Ledger looks more like a sympathy vote than a real decision. It’s hard to say though, I’m completely ignorant. Such a change for Ledger though, he hasn’t really played the villain. What a brilliant actor, lost so young.
It’s odd, the last time I really thought about how I felt personally towards an actor was the loss of River Phoenix. If you remember Phoenix died of drug induced heart failure after taking a lethal dose of cocaine, morphine, valium, marijuana, and ephedrine. God bless energy drinks right? Wrong. His career ended right after getting a chance to work with Robert Redford and Sidney Poitier. Who knows where he could have gone. I think a true talent has been lost in Ledger, and it’s not something that we will get back. It’s not like Heston either. Charleton Heston died this year, and he lived a long and productive life, Ledger died when he was just getting started.
So, this leads me to this question: What do you think? You see Dark Knight? Will this be the 1st Oscar to be awarded to the daughter of the now dead actor? What has young Hollywood got to look forward to, more tragedies?