Tuesday, July 01, 2008

An Oscar for Ledger?

Have you guys heard the Oscar talk yet for Heath Ledger?

, “Heath Ledger gives a blockbuster performance in the new Batman movie. His work as The Joker will absolutely be nominated for an Oscar... Ledger offers perfect pitch, perfect tone...”

And then, Mr. Peter Travers of the Rolling Stone, in the Dark Knight’s very first review,

I can only speak superlatives of Ledger, who is mad-crazy-blazing brilliant as the Joker. Miles from Jack Nicholson's broadly funny take on the role in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman, Ledger takes the role to the shadows, where even what's comic is hardly a relief. No plastic mask for Ledger; his face is caked with moldy makeup that highlights the red scar of a grin, the grungy hair and the yellowing teeth of a hound fresh out of hell. To the clown prince of crime, a knife is preferable to a gun, the better to 'savor the moment.'

“The deft script, by Nolan and his brother Jonathan, taking note of Bob Kane's original Batman and Frank Miller's bleak rethink, refuses to explain the Joker with pop psychology. Forget Freudian hints about a dad who carved a smile into his son's face with a razor. As the Joker says, 'What doesn't kill you makes you stranger…' Ledger's Joker has no gray areas — he's all rampaging id. Watch him crash a party and circle Rachel, a woman torn between Bale's Bruce (she knows he's Batman) and Eckhart's DA, another lover she has to share with his civic duty. 'Hello, beautiful,' says the Joker, sniffing Rachel like a feral beast. He's right when he compares himself to a dog chasing a car: The chase is all. The Joker's sadism is limitless, and the masochistic delight he takes in being punched and bloodied to a pulp would shame the Marquis de Sade. 'I choose chaos,' says the Joker, and those words sum up what's at stake in The Dark Knight.”

Sara Stewart of the NY Post
wrote, “If he had a soundtrack, it would be something along the lines of the Sex Pistols, whose singer, Johnny Rotten, was cited by the actor as one of his inspirations for the role, along with Malcolm McDowell's performance in A Clockwork Orange. His puckered grin of a scar and cracked, sweat-smeared makeup are a punk-rock take on the original, purple-suited archnemesis. Ledger developed a whole new body language for the character. His Joker's tendency to lick his lips and blink extra slowly gives him, at times, the appearance of a demonic lizard.”

I love it! I love his whole take on the Joker, certainly his laugh but also his lizard-like lip-licking. I especially love the rampaging id without any pop psychology explanation beyond his addiction to chaos. Why explain it all? Isn't the mystery of his wicked villainy far more interesting?

I don’t recall where I read this exactly, perhaps it was the NY Times, but Heath saw an uncut version of the film before he died, loved it, and asked Nolan to play it again, which he did for him, of course.

Here’s the brand new extended trailer if you haven’t seen it.

Great, great fun.



David Alan said...

Abso-fuckin’-lutely. Enough said.

-- David Alan

Mystery Man said...


Anonymous said...

I hope he does, it looks fantastic and brilliant. He was one of the few actors who could have gone down that road. Ironically, I can imagine his co-star Christian Bale being that brave.

Will he get an Oscar nom? I doubt it. It is a blockbuster movie, and will it be remembered in six months by the voters?

James said...

I hope so. Not just because he is a great actor and his take on The Joke is phenomenal (it is).

But it is about time Action Movies and Blockbusters stop getting snubbed by the Oscar's.

Last year, 3:10 to Yuma getting snubbed was a travesty.

There ARE Oscar worthy genre movies!

And believe it or not, not every independent movie that makes no sense (that for some reason a studio put too much money into development on -- and is trying to recoup its losses by launching a huge Oscar campaign) is an "Oscar-contender."

James said...

Above it should say "The Joker."

Was a typo. I'm not totally retarded :p just mildly. :)

Anonymous said...

Only from watching the previews that I've seen...

Ledger plays the joker superb.

He portrays the psychotic killer really well with his addition of "lizard-like lip-licking".

Can't wait to see it. All I hear about is Ledger's performance.

Mim said...

Ledger definitely left us wanting more. His skill as an actor had been improving in leaps and bounds.

I can see the Academy rewarding him with an Oscar, or perhaps something honorary. Being dead gives an actor an edge in the Oscar race.

Christian H. said...

Finally, the true Dark Knight appears. No more purple tights and BAM! POW! FX. The Dark Knight actually killed people in the comics, especially the early ones.

I love it. A shame Heath can't reprise his role. I love psychotic bad guys. That would be the only time I would want to act.

Mystery Man said...

Scott - No, it's quite possible, particularly this year with no on-the-horizon oscar contenders coming out of the film festivals...

James - I completely agree.

Anon - There's been praise for the others, too. Rolling Stones compared Bale's Batman to Pacino's Michael Corleone.

Mim - I think that when we see him in Batman (and analyze in the backs of our minds if his performance truly Oscar worthy) he so slam-dunked the character, there won't be any question and we'll STILL be able to enjoy the film.

Christain - Hehehe... I totally agree. You look like you're dressed up as a bad guy in that profile pic of yours.


MaryAn Batchellor said...

I won't go into the hideous nine inch Heath Ledger as Joker tattoo on my son's arm other than to say that such is the scale of the fanatism for all things Dark Knight in my house of men.

Mystery Man said...

That's hilarious. Superheroes will never die in the hearts of little boys. And big ones, too, I suppose. At least we're over the pirates fad. That was getting on my nerves.


Christian H. said...

Bad guys are the coolest. I mean, you actually get to KICK the cat.

I'm about to update my profile pic, though. That one is a shrunk thumbnail.

Mim said...

CNN just posted an article in its highlighted stories about Heath being a contender for the Oscar for this role.

Mystery Man said...

Christian - What IS that on your head?

Mim - Yeah, they're always reading me. Hehehe...


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