Heath Ledger’s family yesterday kicked off Oscar celebrations a few days early at a Hollywood party.
The late Ledger’s father Kim, mother Sally and sister Kate flew into Los Angeles with a dozen family members two days ago and were guests of honour at a private cocktail party held to celebrate the awarding of the inaugural Heath Ledger Scholarship, reports LA correspondent Peta Hellard.
Actresses Abbie Cornish, Isabel Lucas, Rose Byrne and Teresa Palmer were among the 150 guests.
About 150 of the so-called gumleaf mafia, including Ben Lee, Rose Byrne and Abbie Cornish and celebrities such as Ian Thorpe, attended the emotional but celebratory event at the Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood.
The Australians in Film organisation used the occasion to present Sydney actor Oliver Ackland, 29, with its inaugural Heath Ledger Scholarship.
Ackland will receive $US10,000 ($15,500) plus a Qantas return ticket to the US. Two runners-up, Firass Dirani and Veronica Sywak, will also get return tickets to the US to help jump-start their acting careers.
A dozen members of Ledger’s family who have flown in from Perth for the Academy Awards were also there. If Ledger’s name is, as expected, read from the envelope for best supporting actor on Monday his father Kim, mother Sally and sister Kate are likely to accept the Oscar.
“We may say a few words,” Mr Ledger said on arriving in Los Angeles. “We’d probably get up there, I’d say.”
Ledger, whose portrayal of the psychopathic Joker in The Dark Knight set a new standard for Hollywood villains, is one of five Australians nominated. Baz Luhrmann’s wife Catherine Martin is up for costume design for Australia.
Editor Lee Smith, who was nominated five years ago for Master and Commander, has a chance to win for his work on Dark Knight, while visual effects wizard Ben Snow, making his third trip to the Oscars, is eyeing his first gold statuette for his work on the blockbuster, Iron Man.
Michael Carlin has been nominated for art direction in The Duchess.
Source: The Australian