One year to the day after his death, Heath Ledger is an Oscar nominee again.
The late actor has been nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 81st Academy Awards for his role as the Joker in “The Dark Knight,” it was announced on Thursday morning.
Heath, who died of an accidental prescription drug overdose on January 22, 2008, was previously nominated for Best Actor in 2006 for his role in “Brokeback Mountain.”
Other supporting-actor nominees include Josh Brolin, “Milk”; Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”; Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt”; Michael Shannon, “Revolutionary Road.”
VIEW THE PHOTOS: 2009 Academy Award Nominees
“The Dark Knight” became the highest-grossing film of 2008 after a record-breaking $155.3 million opening weekend in July, with Heath’s fearless performance as the wild, make-up clad villain – once played by Jack Nicholson in the first “Batman” film — quickly gathering Oscar buzz.
“The Dark Knight” received eight nominations including nods for Cinematography and Visual Effects.
He’s already earned a number of awards for the role, including the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award and the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.
VIEW THE PHOTOS: ‘The Dark Knight’ Scenes & Stars
“He did a phenomenal job,” co-star Aaron Eckhart told Access Hollywood at the Critic’s Choice Awards earlier this month. “He re-invented a character that was so well done by Jack Nicholson and made it his own. So obviously, it’s bittersweet. But he certainly is deserving and I’m glad that I was there to see it happen.”
The Joker won’t be Heath’s last role – before his death, the 28-year-old actor was filming Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.” As previously reported by AccessHollywood.com, his unfinished performance will be fleshed out by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell, who stepped into the role at lowered salaries in tribute to Heath.
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