Bittersweet award for Heath Ledger
In a poignant scene, Heath Ledger’s father, mother and sister stood together on the stage at the Oscar ceremony and accepted his award for best supporting actor.
The long-anticipated moment caused tears to well in many an eye of his peers but Heath’s mother, Sally Bell, chose to emphasise the positive, saying “Tonight we are choosing to celebrate and be happy for what he has achieved.”
KIM Ledger, Heath’s father, was first to speak saying: “First of all I’d have to say this is ever so humbling – being amongst such wonderful people in such a wonderful industry. Firstly I’d like to thank the Academy for recognising our son’s amazing work, Warner Brothers, and Christopher Nolan in particular for allowing Heath the creative licence to develop and explore this crazy Joker character. To Steve Alexander, Heath’s mentor, special friend and agent for ten years, we love you Steve. This award tonight would have humbly validated Heath’s quiet determination to be truly accepted by you all here, his peers within an industry he so loved. Thank you.”
Sally Bell, Heath’s mother said “Heath was such a compassionate and generous soul who added so much excitement and inspiration to our lives. We have been truly overwhelmed by the honour and respect being bestowed upon him with this award. Tonight we are choosing to celebrate and be happy for what he has achieved.”
His sister Kate Ledger chose to address him directly. “Heath, we both knew what you had created in the Joker was extraordinarily special and had even talked about being here on this very day. We really wish you were, but we proudly accept this award on behalf of your beautiful Matilda. Thank you.”
The family will hold the Oscar statuette in trust until they can legally turn it over to Heath’s young daughter Matilda when she turns 18. The girl lives with her mother, actress Michelle Williams.
Kim Ledger said his son was good at many things when he was a child, and his father advised him to pick something he was really good at because “one day you might have to make a buck of it.” Kim said Heath’s passion was in acting, and he chose to follow his passion.
Although the Australian presence in the form of this award and particularly in Hugh Jackman’s hosting of the Oscars was pre-eminent, the rest of the nominees were not so lucky.
Two-time Oscar winner Catherine Martin, who has been nominated three times for costume design on her husband Baz Lurhrman’s films, missed out for the film Australia.
Michael Carlin, who was up for an art direction gong for his work on The Duchess, missed out to the team behind The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. In fact Carlin suffered the indignity of having his nomination hardly even acknowledged in his home country, his name didn’t even appear on Screen Australia’s website following his nomination.
Lee Smith, nominated for his work on The Dark Knight, also missed out. It is Smith’s second nomination after being given the nod for his work on Russell Crowe’s Master and Commander.Ben Snow also missed out for his work on visual effects for Iron Man.
Hugh Jackman, the first non-comedian to host the Oscars in more than two decades, opened the Academy Awards telecast on Sunday with a musical tribute spoofing this year’s crop of film nominees. The original song-and-dance number put his talents as a Broadway musical veteran to the test as he lampooned all five of the films vying for best picture in short succession.
While Oscar producers promised a departure from the usual format in this year’s show, Jackman’s turn as emcee was not without the kind of banter and jokes that might have been delivered by his long line of comic predecessors.