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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Best Performance in a Motion Picture By an Actor in a Supporting Role ... before dying

And the winner is:

Heath Ledger, for his performance as The Joker in the umpteenth Batman movie, "The Dark Knight" ...

... first at the Critics' Choice Awards, then at the Golden Globes and undoubtedly next at the Oscars.

What an insult to the intelligence of movie-goers. And shame on the voters in the various academies for choosing Ledger simply because he died of a drug overdose at age 28 - the only reason he's winning these things.

Ledger gave an OK performance in a summer blockbuster/popcorn flick. Worthy of millions of dollars at the box office? Of course. But the most prestigious awards in the business? C'mon!

What's next - giving Owen Wilson the Best Actor Oscar for "Marley and Me"? Oh, wait. His suicide attempt was unsuccessful, so he doesn't qualify.

The sad reality is that, in the celebrity world, greatness always is exaggerated in death - especially death at a young age. James Dean. Marilyn Monroe. Freddie Prinze. Kurt Cobain. Now Heath Ledger. The list goes on and on. All were good at what they did, but none would be held in such high regard if not for checking out early.

Put another way, we have an odd habit of honoring entertainers for untimely death more than for accomplishments in life. Does that make any sense? Not to me.

There are at least a dozen movie actors who gave better performances in supporting roles in 2008 than Ledger did. But I have no doubt that Ledger's will be the name inside the envelope when the Oscar winner in his category is announced on Feb. 22 ...

... making it a dark night, indeed.



Blogger Melissa said...

Not necessarily, Jeremy. Ledger's not the first Hollywood celeb to be nominated for the award posthumously. Ralph Richardson was nominated in '84 and lost. Same goes for Best Actor-I think five or six people have been nominated for it post-mortem, but only Peter Finch won the statue (for Network...what a fantastic movie, no?). Then again, you could be right. Hollywood has turned into a joke. Hope all's well!

January 15, 2009 at 11:43 AM 
Blogger Jeremy Schiffres, City Editor said...

Glad to see my blog is being read halfway around the world.
Hope all is well in Seoul.
Be well.

January 15, 2009 at 12:37 PM 

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