Big Winners: Heath Ledger and Penelope Cruz
In an unsurprising win, Heath Ledger won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor at the 81st Acacemy Awards tonight.
Ledger swept for his portrayal of the psychotic Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.
The award was presented by a quintuplet of past Supporting Actor Oscar winners - Alan Arkin, Joel Grey, Adrian Brody, Christopher Walken, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Kevin Kline.
Accepting for Heath was his father Kim Ledger, mother Sally Bell, and sister Kate.
Kim thanked the Academy for “recognizing our son’s amazing work.”
As the trio spoke about Heath and his dedication to be “accepted” by the assembled artists in the auditorium, the ABC cameras cut to several celebrities in the audience whose eyes were welling up with tears.
Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Adrien Brody, and Anne Hathaway all looked particularly stricken.
Heath, who died in January 2008 of a prescription drug overdose, is the second actor in Oscar history to win an award posthumously.
Peter Finch won an award for Best Actor for Network in 1976 after his death.
Penelope Cruz won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Javier Bardem’s psychotic ex-girlfriend in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
She gave her speech in both English and Spanish (just like her beau Bardem last year), and gave a rousing speech about the importance of art and dedicated her statue to “all the actors in my country.”
She charmed the audience when asking “has anybody ever fainted here? I might be the first one.”