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Is Heath Ledger Oscar-worthy?

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Heath ledger in Batman

The hype around Friday’s release of the “The Dark Knight” has reached a fever pitch, with Heath Ledger’s dark turn as the Joker generating an avalanche of posthumous Oscar buzz.

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone has called Ledger’s performance “mad-crazy-blazing brilliant,” while the sequel’s director Christopher Nolan has raved in the New York Times that Ledger’s portrayal of the sadistic makeup-caked villain is “stunning” and “iconic”.

The big-ticket Academy Award categories have typically been bereft of summer blockbuster nominees.

But is Ledger’s performance so bone-chillingly remarkable that it can survive the hype and the action-movie stigma?

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