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Ledger's Joker To Get Best Supporting Oscar Nod?

Illustration for article titled Ledgers Joker To Get Best Supporting Oscar Nod?

Warner Bros has confirmed that they are going to be campaigning for Heath Ledger to be nominated for, and to win, a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Dark Knight - becoming on the seventh actor to be nominated for an Oscar after their death - but some are complaining that his Joker was so good that it deserves to be more than just a "supporting" role.For its part, Warner Bros is convinced that Ledger's part in The Dark Knight was a supporting one, and something that Entertainment Weekly's Dave Karger supports for more cynical reasons:

[T]he most important thing to consider is his chance at the win. I doubt he'd have a shot at beating The Wrestler's Mickey Rourke, or Milk's Sean Penn, or Frost/Nixon's Frank Langella in the Best Actor race. But in the supporting category, his strongest likely competitor is Doubt's Philip Seymour Hoffman, coincidentally the man who defeated Ledger for Best Actor the only other time Ledger was nominated, for Brokeback Mountain. While Hoffman's Capote performance was the sure bet back then, this time it could be a true toss-up.


For my part, I think that the role is most definitely a supporting one. Despite how powerful Ledger's performance was - and it was easily the strongest thing about the movie as a whole, in my opinion - the focus was never really on the Joker as a character, but the effect that he had on others - most notably, Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent. The focus of the film was really those two characters, and if anyone deserves a Best Actor nod from the movie (and I don't think anyone really does, to be honest), it'd be Aaron Eckhart for his take on Dent. There's been a lot of buzz - and rightfully so- about Ledger's Joker, but I think that it's almost placed too much importance on both the character's place within the movie, and the actor's. Ledger deserves to be nominated for - and, probably, win - the Best Supporting Actor award not because that's where he stands the best chance of winning or because the movie wasn't called The Joker, but because, ultimately, that's what his role actually was in the film everyone saw. Heath Ledger "100% Supporting" []

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Aren't there pretty clear cut rules regarding screen time that determine whether an actor is "lead" or "supporting"? I thought there was some controversy surrounding Anthony Hopkins nod for SIlence of the Lambs because of the relatively small amount of screen time compared to the other actors in the lead category.

Seeing as how I'm basing this on a vague memory of nearly twenty years ago, I can see how I could be wrong.