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Give Heath Ledger an Oscar Because He Deserves It, Not Because He Passed Away!

But for fuck’s sake, please stop saying he should get an Oscar for his role in The Dark Knight when the movie isn’t even out yet. This has been a recurring discussion amongst people ever since his death, and now with little over a week left until the movie can actually be viewed by the people making these claims, it feels like it's become necessary to speak out against such ridiculous notions.

Now, I will agree that Ledger's performance in the film looks excellent based on what we’ve seen in the trailers, and if he really does do an amazing job as early word of mouth has indicated, nobody would like to see him be honored with an Academy Award more than me. That said, the year’s only halfway over, and there are plenty of other actors to be accounted for before it’s fair to proclaim Ledger as the most worthy candidate for the Best Actor category. Not that that's stopping moviegoers all across the web from claiming an Oscar is the only way to properly honor the man. Here's a thought: Wouldn’t it make so much more sense for him to be honored because he’s actually earned it, and not merely because he passed away?

For Heath to win the Oscar for something as entirely unrelated as his death would be to remove all meaning behind it. I may not have known Heath personally, but it’s clear through interviews with him that he had more respect for his craft than to want to win an award like that. Because of this, making him a lock for the Oscar isn’t honoring him at all. At best, it’s a meaningless sympathy vote, and at worst, it’s an insult. Even if moviegoers are willing to acknowledge this though, I still imagine many people would be upset were he to lose, regardless of how strong his competition is.

The only way to avoid this problem is by asking a question come year’s end: Were Heath still with us right now, would his performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight earn him an Academy Award? Being that I haven't seen the film yet, I cannot answer that question, but I will say that it definitely seems within the realm of possibility. As it stands though, the real question is much simpler... Will he win? In this case, the answer is practically a forgone conclusion, due in large part to how political the Oscar game has become (but that's another issue for another day).

Meanwhile, that nagging question will always linger: Will his win be attributed more to his performance being the best of the year, or his untimely death? Sadly, as morbid a query as that is, I think the answer may be even more so.

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