Heath Ledger Wins Best Supporting Actor Oscar
First Published: February 22, 2009 10:34 PM EST Credit: Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Heath Ledger will now forever be known as an Oscar winner.
Ledger won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as The Joker in “The Dark Knight.”
It is the first Oscar for the late actor. He was previously nominated for Best Actor for 2006’s “Brokeback Mountain.”
Heath’s father Kim Ledger, his mother Sally Ledger Bell and sister Kate Ledger accepted the award on the actor’s behalf.
“I’d like to thank the Academy for recognizing our son’s amazing work,” Kim Ledger said on stage, as the first family member to speak. “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.”
“Heath was such a compassionate and generous soul who added so much excitement and inspiration to our lives,” his mother Sally Leger Bell added. “We have been truly overwhelmed by the honor and respect being bestowed upon him with this award.”
And, his mother said, Heath’s win was much more celebratory than somber for the family.
“Tonight, we are choosing to celebrate and be happy for what he has achieved,” Bell concluded.
When his sister took the podium, she revealed that she and her brother had even talked about the idea of an Oscar win for his iconic role.
“Heath, we both knew what you had created in the The Joker was extraordinarily special and we had even talked about being here on this very day,” Kate Ledger noted.
“We really wish you were here, but we proudly accept this award on behalf of your beautiful Matilda.”
As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, Ledger’s 3-year-old daughter, Matilda, will be the recipient of the award. However, her mother, Michelle Williams, will technically be the legal custodian of the award until Matilda turns 18.
Past winners of the award Alan Arkin, Joel Grey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Christopher Walken, Kevin Kline presented the award, each taking time to honor an individual nominee.
“Heath Ledger has left us an original and enduring legacy,” Kline said of Ledger prior to his win.
The Oscar caps off an amazing award show run for the late actor, who died on January 22, 2008, from an accidental drug overdose in his New York apartment.
His turn as the maniacal Joker also earned him Best Supporting Actor awards at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA, as well as LA, Boston, Toronto and San Francisco Critics Awards.
Ledger’s win at the Oscars marks the first posthumous Oscar since Peter Finch was awarded Best Actor in 1977 for “Network.” Finch, 60, died a few weeks before the awards ceremony.
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