Everyone’s assuming Heath Ledger has the Oscar in the bag for his supposedly brilliant work in Dark Knight, but dying and being good do not automatically grant you the trophy. Yes, Jeanne Eagels, James Dean, Spencer Tracy, Ralph Richardson, and Massimo Troisi were all nominated from the great beyond, but they rudely lost! And it was their last chance! Peter Finch did indeed nab the gold (for Network) after croaking, but he’s the only one! They don’t want to waste a trophy on a corpse! And remember when there was talk of nominating Oliver Reed for Gladiator? Reed was great in the film, had a fine career, and he’d even died (in the middle of filming yet), but that still didn’t get him the nod. Oscar can be a very cold bitch. In this case, he might just spite himself by depriving the world of a weepy moment that would have been cathartic for us and great ratings for them.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 1, 2008