Two days before Heath Ledger will certainly receive his first and only Oscar winner, the first scholarship in the late actor’s name was given out to Oliver Ackland, a 29-year-old actor from Ledger’s native-Australia.
The $10,000 award isn’t to find the next Ledger, though. That was made very clear during the presentation of the award.
“Rachel Griffiths said, ‘How do we judge this?” Director Greg Jordan, who directed Ledger in Two Hands. “Are we looking for the next Heath Ledger?’
“We all said ‘No,” Griffiths responded. “There is no next Heath Ledger, but there’s plenty of other people.’”
Ackland, a relatively unknown actor in the States, said that the award – especially the fact that it was in The Dark Knight star’s name – was especially meaningful.
“The fact that it is in his name means the world,” Ackland said. “I admired Heath and I admired the work that he chose, the path he created for himself. It shows a lot of integrity on his behalf.”
Fellow Australian actors Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts all contributed to the Ledger Scholarship, which pays for flights for auditions and meetings with casting agents and directors, among other things.
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