This past summer I, like millions of other hopeless sheep, paid $9.50 to see The Dark Knight. I never bothered to review it (did I? no, I didn't) because it wasn't worth it. It was okay. Nothing spectacular, despite what everyone has been saying (and the horrible buzz of getting a Best Picture nom; bitch, please). Anyway, I felt today, the anniversary of Heath Ledger's tragic passing, was the time for me to address an issue: the pity praise. Now I know I'm a cynical little bitch, but I want everyone to be honest with themselves: if Heath hadn't died, would we all think the movie, and in particular his acting, would have been praised so heavily? Would it have been such a box-office smash? Perhaps, but I'm inclined to believe what I believe, namely that because of the horrifying events we the people are elevating the movie to a level it never reached on screen.
I say this because Heath was nominated, quite expectedly, for an Oscar this morning. Now. Not to intentionally criticize his performance, but there is little precedent to have an actor from a comic book movie be nominated for such an award. I can't remember any actor within the past 20 years who starred in a comic book-based movie be nominated for an Oscar. But, there's a first time for everything, right? I suppose. But let's just call a spade a spade: it's a little too coincidental that no role like this was ever recognized before by the Academy, and all of the sudden they found one to be worthy of a nomination just when said actor happened to die.
Personally, I find it a tad insulting to almost all parties involved, and I'm pained to remember other posthumous awards, such as the Tony and Pulitzer to Jonathan Larson for Rent, and posthumous nominations, like James Dean for East of Eden. Look. Everyone should realize that, whether by right or not, these accolades have some level of pity within them, and even if the greatest actor or writer or whatever does the best job, if he dies, that's always a fact you can't ignore. What's worse, people will probably get insulted if you don't award them and deem it "insensitive". Remember when everyone stood at the Golden Globes for Heath? What if it had gone to Ralph Fiennes? Would anyone stand for that? No. They'd be cursing under their breaths that Heath didn't win. It's ridiculous.
Is it a big deal? No, maybe not. But awards should be given to those who did the best job, and sometimes, it's hard to decide that with such extenuating circumstances. The solution? Special awards. They should just do it. That way, the dead can be honored for their performance without the academy feeling obligated to give it to the dead guy.
RIP Heath Ledger.
Oh, and THIS doesn't help anyone's case.