When many people think of Heath Ledger, I would gather the following words come to mind: sympathy, sadness, good actor, gay cowboy. He’s played: a patriot, a drug addict, Casanova, a surfer, a knight, and most recently a deranged psychotic. Regardless of how mediocre “The Dark Knight” was overall, he did succeed in out-shining all the other actors – although that wasn’t too hard since most of the acting in the movie was quite wooden.
The disturbing part about his role as The Joker was that it’s resulted in some kind of mania in the public’s eye that has so many people clamoring for him to get a posthumous Oscar. The problem is it wasn’t some kind of genius role, it wasn’t even anything really standout, it was just a decent execution of a somewhat extreme character. Most people who can’t act can have makeup put on their face and told to act like someone disturbed and it can be pulled off. One of the easiest kinds of characters to play is someone that’s crazy or psychotic.
Some actors have done superb jobs in such roles, such as Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs”, Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito in “Goodfellas”, or Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in “The Shining”.
Heath Ledger has done nothing special in his role as The Joker and the only reason it’s even being suggested that his role as The Joker deserves an Oscar is because:
- He’s dead
- He lifted the movie up from being abysmal to at least mediocre
- Most people are sheep
- The movie is making a lot of money
- A lot of critics forget that their role is to critique, not ass-kiss the box office
One other factor is that the role was “different” and anything “different” in Hollywood (if it’s meant ot be serious) is considered ground-breaking. For example: Viggo Mortensenhas a 5-minute nude brawl in a bath house in the movie “Easten Promises” and the next thing you know he’s being applauded. Seriously, I don’t want to be enjoying a fairly decent sober movie only to then have the equivalent of a Borat hotel scene (minus the censoring) shoved in my face. I guess in Hollywood when an actor allows his small shriveled prune-looking dangling bits to be exposed at length in a movie, it’s considered groundbreaking. “Different”? Yes. “Groundbreaking”? Um, no.
Although no shriveled bits to speak of in Heath’s role, the same concept applies. The role is different but that doesn’t mean it’s groundbreaking or astounding.
Speaking of Borat – THAT is someone able to stay in character for a whole movie and with significantly more screen time. Should Sacha Baron Cohen have been nominated for an Oscar? If he died, would people be clamouring for that?