Main articles: The Dark Knight and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Ledger's death affected the marketing campaign for Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight (2008) and also both the production and marketing of Terry Gilliam's forthcoming film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, with both directors intending to celebrate and pay tribute to his work in these films. Although Gilliam temporarily suspended production on the latter film, he expressed determination to "salvage" it, perhaps using computer-generated imagery (CGI), and plans to dedicate it to Ledger. In February 2008, as a "memorial tribute to the man many have called one of the best actors of his generation," Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell signed on to take over Ledger's role, becoming multiple incarnations of his character, Tony, transformed in this "magical re-telling of the Faust story," and the three actors have donated their fees for the film to Ledger's and Williams' daughter.
Speaking of editing The Dark Knight, on which Ledger had completed his work in October 2007, Nolan recalled, "It was tremendously emotional, right when he passed, having to go back in and look at him every day. ... But the truth is, I feel very lucky to have something productive to do, to have a performance that he was very, very proud of, and that he had entrusted to me to finish." All of Ledger's scenes appear as he completed them in the filming; in editing the film, Nolan added no "digital effects" to alter Ledger's actual performance posthumously. Nolan dedicated the film in part to Ledger's memory, as well as to the memory of technician Conway Wickliffe, who was killed during a car accident while preparing one of the film's stunts.
Released in July 2008, The Dark Knight broke several box office records and received both popular and critical accolades, especially with regard to Ledger's performance as the Joker. Even film critic David Denby, who does not praise the film overall in his pre-release review in The New Yorker, evaluates Ledger's work highly, describing his performance as both "sinister and frightening" and Ledger as "mesmerising in every scene", concluding: "His performance is a heroic, unsettling final act: this young actor looked into the abyss." Attempting to dispel widespread speculations that Ledger's performance as the Joker had in any way led to his death (as Denby and others suggest), Ledger's costar and friend Christian Bale, who played opposite him as Batman, has stressed that, as an actor, Ledger greatly enjoyed meeting the challenges of creating that role, an experience that Ledger himself described as "the most fun I’ve ever had, or probably ever will have, playing a character."
On 10 November 2008, he was nominated for two People's Choice Awards related to his work on the film, "Best Ensemble Cast" and "Best Onscreen Match-Up" (shared with Christian Bale); the online voting for those as-yet unannounced awards since closed, with the 35th anniversary awards ceremony airing on CBS on 7 January 2009.
On 11 December 2008, it was announced that Ledger has been nominated for a posthumous Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture for his performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight; the awards will be presented at the 66th Golden Globe Awards ceremony telecast on NBC on 11 January 2009.
Along with other film critics, audience members, and many of Ledger's colleagues in the film community, his other costars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Michael Caine have joined Bale in calling for and predicting a posthumous nomination for the 2008 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in recognition of Ledger's achievement in The Dark Knight. Nominations for the awards
8 years ago