That’s the official word this morning from Warner Bros. as to how Heath Ledger will be campaigned for his riveting performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight. To which I say: smart move. I know some people were pulling for a Best Actor placement for the late star, but that just didn’t feel right to me (nor, apparently, to the Warner Bros. people). Sure, Ledger had tons of screen time and is certainly the most memorable thing about the film. But the movie is called The Dark Knight, not The Joker. The only Best Actor candidate here should be Christian Bale.
But the 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.