Is an Oscar next?

Ledger honoured with Australian acting prize
The late actor Heath Ledger has been handed one of his country’s highest film honours: the Australian Film Institute’s international award for best actor for his portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight.
The 28-year-old actor died of an accidental overdose of painkillers and other medicines in a New York apartment in January.
“Heath was never one to accept mediocrity. He put his heart and soul into achieving what he believed was required and followed his passions with great enthusiasm and an insatiable curiosity,” Sally Ledger said of her son.
Sister Kate stood alongside her parents as they accepted the award Saturday night at a film institute gala in Melbourne.
“It has been without a doubt the most difficult year, losing such a loved family member,” Kate Ledger said, fighting back tears. “We are so proud of him and humbly accept this award on behalf of his beautiful daughter [Matilda], who we will cherish forever.”
Audience members rose to their feet as the award was announced. The AFI also paid tribute to Ledger as a “ground-breaking actor trapped in the body of a leading man.”
Ledger was nominated for an Oscar playing a gay cowboy in 2005’s Brokeback Mountain. The Dark Night will be re-released to cinemas in January the day after this year’s Oscar nominations are disclosed.
Cate Blanchett won the Australian Film Institute’s female acting award for her role in Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
Meanwhile, The Black Balloon ó about a teenage boy learning to live with an autistic brother ó captured best film.
Heading into the awards with 11 nominations, The Black Balloon also took home trophies for best supporting actor and actress for Luke Ford and Toni Collette, while director and co-writer Elissa Down won for best direction and original screenplay.
In the TV category, the acclaimed crime drama Underbelly, about Melbourne’s gang world, garnered six of eight awards for which it was nominated, including best TV drama series and best acting for its male and female leads.