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Can Robert Downey Jr. beat Heath Ledger at the Golden Globes?

December 11, 2008 | 11:59 am

There are two serious threats to Heath Ledger ("The Dark Knight") at the Oscars, who did not receive Golden Globe nominations today: Dev Patel ("Slumdog Millionaire") and Josh Brolin ("Milk"). If "Slumdog Millionaire" wins best picture at the Oscars, as many pundits believe, remember this: The top champ often claims an acting award. That means Patel, if nommed, must be taken seriously. In Brolin's case, he starred in the academy's best-pic champ of last year ("No Country for Old Men"), wasn't nommed, so he's got a big Oscar IOU. Also, Brolin just happens to be on a hot streak over all. He's got just the kind of momentum and cool factor that might tempt voters to pick him over Heath Ledger.

Heath_ledger_dark_knight_robert_dow

But a star with a mega-cool factor did make the Golden Globes lineup — Robert Downey Jr. ("Tropic Thunder") — who could also pose a serious challenge at the Oscars. What's fascinating about his run for these awards is the sharp contrast his personal story has to Heath Ledger's. In a sense, Downey is the anti-Ledger — he's a studly star who demonstrated serious acting promise when young, but didn't die tragically from drugs. In fact, he rallied in rehab spectacularly. Voters may find that a hopeful spin, especially considering this has been his break-out year with the surprise success of "Iron Man."

Another promising young stud who died tragically and got nominated at the Oscars (twice) didn't win despite having sentiment on his side: James Dean lost posthumous bids for "East of Eden" and "Giant." Spencer Tracy seemed like a shoo-in to win best actor at the Globes and Oscars when nommed posthumously for "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," but lost. Peter Finch ("Network") won the Globe and Oscar posthumously, but he died immediately before those ceremonies. His loss was still weighing heavily upon their minds when voters were inking their ballots. In January, Heath Ledger will have been dead one year.

Photos: Paramount, Warner Bros.

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Comments

As much as I want Robert Downey Jr. to win it, I know it's going to go to Heath. Both are very deserving, though.

Well.. I'd DEFINATELY have to go with Downey Jr. on this one. No disrespect to Ledger and his family, but I mean Downey deserves this. He got it stolen from him when he was nominated for Chaplin. And I mean him getting clean, and taking a different path really desrves something. And Ledger, yeah one HELL of a performance in Dark Knight. But I'm all Downey Jr. hands down<3

God, Downey kicked ass and if he loses to Ledger, I'll be extremely pissed. Downey deserves this, it's long overdue, and he really does deserve it for his mega-hit performances. He's brilliant, funny, flawless, and a survivor...I'm all down for Downey.

Downey was already snubbed before for Chaplin. Do we have to wait for every good actor to kick the bucket before we give them accolades?

Give it to Heath. It would be an ideal send-off and it would be a wonderful gesture of gratitude for his grieving family. Robert has had an amazing year, but I believe the best is yet to come. His performance in "Thunder" was pretty awesome, but it didn't come close to Heath's "Joker." This would be the crowning achievement of Heath's legacy, and he's earned it.


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