"Late actor Heath Ledger's three-year-old daughter Matilda will become the proud owner of her dad's Oscar statuette on Sunday, if he wins a posthumous award.
Ledger is nominated for his supporting role as the Joker in Batman movie The Dark Knight - and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided little Matilda will be handed the accolade should the actor triumph at the weekend.
Should he win, the Academy will hold the statuette until Matilda's 18th birthday - when she will then be able to sign the contract required of all winners. The document bars award recipients from reselling the statuette without first offering it back to the Academy for $1 (GBP0.70).
Matilda's mother and Ledger's ex-fiancee, actress Michelle Williams, would serve as the legal custodian of the Oscar for the next 15 years.
Executive director of the Academy, Bruce Davis, says, 'It's complicated, because there are two different questions that have to be answered. First, we have to decide who gets the job of accepting the award onstage on the night of the ceremony. And then there's the question of the eventual disposition of the posthumous statuette, which may not stay with the person who accepts it. At that point, she may execute what we call an heir's agreement and keep the statuette forever - or, if she chooses not to do that, it will return to us.'
Ledger died on January 22, 2008 from an accidental prescription drug overdose at his New York home, aged 28. He was honored with the Best Supporting Actor trophy at the Golden Globes on January 11 and won the same prize at the BAFTA awards earlier this month. The Academy has not revealed who will accept the award on Ledger's behalf on Sunday night."
This sounds right. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to lose a father at such a young age. But he left the world with the greatest comic book villain role of all time.