Just before he died, Heath Ledger had an inkling that he might get a statuette for his performance as the Joker in "The Dark Knight," which earned him a posthumous supporting actor Oscar on Sunday. After alluding to it on the podium, the Ledger family elaborated backstage on a conversation they had with him.
"When he came home for Christmas a year ago, he had been sending me shots and bits of pieces from the film," sister Kate Ledger said. "And I said to him, 'I have a feeling this is it for you; you're going to get a nomination for this from the Academy.' And he just looked at me and smiled. So he knew."
The family said the Oscar itself will be held in trust in either the U.S. or Australia before being given to Heath Ledger's daughter, Matilda, upon her turning 18. That daughter, family members said, reminds them of her father every day.
"You just have to look at Matilda to know she's totally like her daddy. She has the same mannerisms," mother Sally Bell said. "It's a delight to know she's full of the same enthusiasm and energy, and she looks a little like him."
Ledger's parents said their son showed early signs of precociousness -- in a way that evoked mixed feelings.
"Heath was always watching films and playing the fool and horsing around," Kim Ledger said. "He was very intelligent in a lot of ways, and it always worried me as a parent, because you've got to find something you're good at and stick to it because you might have to make a buck one day." Asked how her son would have felt going through the awards-season process had he lived, Bell said: "I think he would have been quietly pleased. He was very proud of what he did. Heath was never one to be over-the-top with anything. But I think he would have been quietly pleased that it's recognized by his peers in the industry."
The Hollywood Reporter