So Heath Ledger won Best Supporting actor for his portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight returns. It was a phenomenal performance and sets the bar for any performance of the Joker in any medium now. This is what people are going to think of when they think of the Joker; its Oscar approved now. Gone are the days of the campy Joker from the 60s Batman, gone are the days of the Nicholson’s Joker, and even Mark Hamill’s benchmark Joker of the DCAU. We’re in new territory here.
This does raise some larger questions though. Was Ledger awarded the posthumous award because of his death or because of his performance? This question will always haunt my mind just a little, even though I found it to be the best Joker ever, in any medium.I could write pages and pages about Ledger’s Joker, but that’s another post for another time. The competition was pretty stiff with the hugest WTF nomination going to Robert Downy Jr. for Tropic Thunder. He was way better in Iron Man; he completely captured Tony Stark as much as Ledger captured the Joker. But the Academy has always been a bit biased against sci-fi and fantasy anyway.
Dark Knight has also won best sound editing, while Wall E came out on top with a well deserved win as Best Animated Feature, but with weak competition. So I’d like to thank the Academy and Heath Ledger for helping to legitimize America’s homegrown mythology, the humble superhero comic book, to the mainstream audience. But let this serve as a warning to the writers of those comic books and comic book movies: don’t mess this up, Dark Knight, Iron Man and (praying on bended knee to the Flying Spaghetti Monster) Watchmen are the mid point to legitimacy, we’re one Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer away from being ridiculous again.
Recommended Joker Stories that are seriously worth your time:
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: A Death in the Family
Superman: Emperor Joker
The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told
[tags]Literature, Movies and TV[/tags]