Daniel Day-Lewis dedicates his award to Heath Ledger

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Daniel Day-Lewis dedicated his Screen Actors Guild Award to Heath Ledger.

Day-Lewis, who was honored Sunday as leading actor for his performance in "There Will Be Blood," gave an acceptance speech that echoed comments he made last week about Ledger, the 28-year-old Australian actor whose death stunned Hollywood, on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

"In 'Brokeback Mountain' he was unique, he was perfect," Day-Lewis said. "That scene in the trailer at the end of the film is as moving as anything I think I've ever seen."

Backstage, the 50-year-old Day-Lewis said he never met Ledger but the actor's death was all he had been thinking about recently.

"I thought he was beautiful. I just had a very strong feeling I would have liked him very much as a man," he said. "I admired him very much. I'm absolutely certain he would have done many wonderful things in his life."

Several prescription drugs were found in the apartment where Ledger's body was found Tuesday by his masseuse. The cause of death is awaiting toxicology tests.

During the awards show religious protesters gathered across the street from the Shrine Auditorium, toting signs that read, "Heath's in Hell," a reference to his "Brokeback Mountain" role in which he portrayed a gay cowboy.

"We should leave him alone and we should leave his family alone to suffer their unimaginable grief in private, and it's not going to happen," Day-Lewis said backstage. "We should just stop encouraging people to have greater and greater interest in raking over every detail, which is none of our business anyhow."

Ledger's photo from his Oscar-nominated role in 2005's "Brokeback Mountain" closed the SAG award show's in-memoriam segment.

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3 Comments

“Sic transit Gloria mundi” “Thus passes the glory of the world”. I am quoting a poem by Alexander Pushkin who also died tragically and quite young, in respectful memory of Heath Andrew Ledger, a wonderful actor, person; I had met him only once at Washington Square, NYC, where he was playing chess with some elderly people. I stopped and congratulated him for his performances, which I found fantastic, he answered to me and my niece in a very polite and courteous way, and let me take a picture of him with my niece, quite humble and low profile man. This was few months ago and I found him just the opposite of the egocentric and narcissistic attitude of many Hollywood actors. Heather Ledger was an extremely simple young man, with a deep glance coming from his eyes and soul; he had an enormous and quite generous heart. A contemporary James Dean, but he was a much better actor and man. Another appropriate Latin phrase is “Memento mori” which may be freely translated as “Remember that you are mortal,” He was a mortal indeed like all of us, but his time came too soon. He was as well one of the best actors of his generation, a serious and responsible one. I was quite touched by his words that having his daughter Matilda he does not need to live longer, because he can continue living through his daughter. That’s why I had chosen the following poems on his memory, with all my admiration and respect, praying to Our Lord that makes him rest in peace, and lots of strength and courage to his family. Last but not least, I am horrified with the reaction of certain evangelical sects, who condemned him just because his role as the cowboy Del Mar and some scenes. This people are so extremist, that they will condemn again Oscar Wilde, no doubt about the film which represented his life with Jude Law and other actor, or Alexander the Great with Colin Powell, quite appalling are, they don’t represent true Christian believers, just a bunch of fanatics.

“It’s time my friend, it’s time. The heart demands peace.
Day flies after day, and every hour steals;
a crumb of life: meanwhile we delude ourselves
that we are living, and look we are already dying;
no happiness is here, but peace exists;
and freedom, a weary slave, I’ve long pursued,
a dream of flight to a far-off refuge of silence and pure delight”
(Alexander Sergeievich Pushkin)

I kept waiting for someone to address the issue of Heath's talent and death. I am so glad it came and that it came from Day-Lewis. His comment reinforces what i had always suspected-that his humanity i.e spiritualiyt is larger than his talent as an actor.Awesome Daniel!

While I was never a huge Daniel Day Lewis fan, I completely appreciate his comments on Mr. Ledger and that he puts the unfortunate tragedy in the proper perspective. Ledger was a great talent who in hindsight I feel had only just begun to show his real promise as an actor. The Joker as played by Heath Ledger is unlike any acting I have seen in quite some time. To me, there is literally no trace of the actor Heath Ledger in the depiction of the Joker role, which makes it all the more awesome. And it's a damn shame that we'll never get to see him revisit the Joker role or whatever future roles he would have taken.

(Note also that I think his death was a terrible accident. It makes no sense for him to publicly say how much he clearly enjoyed playing the Joker and for him to then kill himself. It just doesn't make sense.)

I'm sure I'm just repeating what plenty of people have already said but it's just what I feel. And I love the movie THE DARK KNIGHT. A great film in nearly every respect. Thank you, Heath Ledger.

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