Stephen Vaughan / DC Comics
What if Heath Ledger doesn't win an Oscar Sunday night? The late Aussie just might not be such a sure thing after all, we're told. Matilda probably already cleared a space in her playroom for her dad's trophy—but as Oscar history shows, there's always an upset.
(How about Michael Caine walking right past Magnolia's Tom Cruise to collect his statue for Cider House Rules? Exactly.)
So far in the 2009 race, Josh Brolin's the only guy to steal some awards away from Heath—from the New York Film Critics Circle and National Board of Review—but the showdown's really between two jokers: Ledger and Robert Downey Jr..
And some Oscar insiders are more than happy if this is what goes down:
Not a few heavy hitters in T-town are telling us, no disrespect to the Ledger fam or Heath's talent, but Downey, Jr. has much more to gain with an Oscar win than a nominee who no longer has a career to worry about.
"He's dead," sassed an Academy voter to the A.T. regarding Ledger's posthumous nomination for The Dark Knight. "And it's a tragedy. But who does it serve by giving Heath this award? It should go to someone who's living."
It surely would be too perfect for comeback kids RDJ and Mickey Rourke to walk away with a golden guy the same night—just don't think it's going to happen. But hey, if Marisa Tomei can trample drama queens like Vanessa Redgrave and Judy Davis, which is exactly what she did when M.T. stole the show for her quirky comic turn in My Cousin Vinny (one of the biggest Oscar upsets of all time), it seems more than doable that Robbie can do the same thing for Tropic Thunder, no?
And what if Rob does win? Is he obligated to give his award over to Ledger? It's bound to rub major Hollywood players—and movie fans—the wrong way if he so selfishly keeps it to himself.
But even if the Best Supporting Actor race doesn't result in an upset, there's bound to be one, believe us. So don't be so shocked when Meryl Streep steps up to the podium instead of six-time loser Kate Winslet. At least we know Meryl will give an entertaining speech, and Kate will still end up crying.
—Additional reporting by Becky Bain