The new Batman movie, The Dark Knight, lands in Britain next Friday.
Buzzing with the glowing reviews of Heath Ledger’s last performance as the Joker, the late actor has been tipped for a posthumous Oscar.
“I do think that Heath has created an iconic villain that will stand for the ages, and of course, I would love to see him get an award,” said Christian Bale, talking to the Associated Press at the Batman premiere.
Ledger died aged 28 from an accidental painkiller overdose at the end of January this year.
He was survived by his former partner, Michelle Williams, and their two year old daughter Matilda.
Michelle described Matilda to be the “spitting image” of Ledger.
Batman: The Dark Knight was already tipped to be one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters.
It has received critical acclaim across the pond, with one critic calling it “the new gold standard for superhero noir.”
Bale reprises his role as the troubled vigilante, along with Sir Michael Caine as his wry butler Alfred and Gary Oldman as the future Commissioner Gordon.
Oldman went on to fuel speculation that his late co-star could be the first actor to nab a posthumous Oscar since Peter Finch won for Network, in 1976.
“He may even win the damn thing,” Oldman said to the Associated Press at the New York premiere.
“Whatever Heath channelled into, he’s found something quite extraordinary,” he continued. “It’s arguably one of the greatest screen villains I think I’ve ever seen.”
Not everyone is convinced.
Terry Gilliam, was directing Ledger in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus when the actor passed away.
He dismissed the reports as of an Oscar as a publicity stunt.
“Warner Brothers will do anything to publicise their film,” Gilliam said.
“That’s just what they do and you can’t get upset because it’s bull**** They’re like a great white shark which devours whatever it can.”
Ledger already received an Best Actor nomination for his portrayal of a closeted cowboy struggling with his sexuality in Brokeback Mountain, in 2006.
He lost to Phillip Seymour Hoffman for his portrayal of Truman Capote, a prolific journalist and author who was also struggling with his sexuality.
Oscar nominations will be announced in January of next year.
Prior to Ledger’s premature death, The Dark Knighthad garnered a buzz around it. News of Ledger’s portrayal of the malevolent psychotic clown had whipped up enthusiasm from fans.
This came head when the January issue of Empire magazine, the film lovers bible, featured a smirking Joker as a “cold blooded mass murdering clown.”