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_Whitetigress's avatar

Heath Ledger, a true villain? Or simply hype role?

Asked by _Whitetigress (4349 points ) August 5th, 2012

Do you believe Heath Ledger as the Joker was one of the all time great acting jobs as a villain? Or was it simply hype plus an untimely death that has critics sky rocketing Ledgers performance to becoming an instant legendary role?

Bonus What are your top 5 all time villain roles (By no means has to be comic book cinema)

*RIP Heath

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11 Answers

digitalimpression's avatar

It’s hard for me to judge Heath’s performance in that movie because I’m one of the only people (so sue me) that didn’t enjoy the movie at all. There’s something about grown men in ridiculous costumes that ruins it for me. That is one genre of movie for which I am unable to suspend my disbelief.

Top 5 villains? Tough to narrow to 5. These are in no particular order and only because they popped into my head first. Some are better actors than others but ultimately (at least for me) it is the overall movie that makes the character great. No actor (despite his/her level of skill) can shine in a dull movie in my book.

Anton Chigurh aka Javier Bardem
Dr. Hannibal Lecter aka Anthony Hopkins
Mr. Smith aka Hugo Weaving
Roger Verbal Kint aka Kevin Spacey
Freddy Krueger aka Robert Englund

ragingloli's avatar

He was great. He got an oscar for it. Even Mike Stoklasa said he was brilliant, even though he was like “WTF?” when he first heard that Ledger was going to play the Joker.

Top 5 Villains:
1. Khan Noonien Singh (ST:2)
2. The Borg (TNG: Best of Both Worlds)
3. Piccolo Daimao (Dragonball)
4. CERN (Steins Gate)
5. God (ST:V)

mazingerz88's avatar

His death, imo, undoubtedly added to the overall halo effect on his performance as the Joker. He was a well admired actor in Hollywood and I’m sure everyone there felt the loss. He was young and full of promise. Like River Phoenix and James Dean.

His rendition of the Joker was perfect match for the way Nolan envisioned the villain to be. He was a reel psychopath. Would he still be nominated for an Oscar if he hadn’t died? Yes. Would he still have won? Maybe not. Philip Seymour Hoffman could have easily gotten it in the film Doubt.

Remember, the 3000(?) strong Academy members who voted for the winner are emotional beings who could have been quite sympathetic to Heath.

Top villains…

1. Emperor Tod Spengo ( Jon Lovitz in Mom and Dad Saved The World )
2. Roy Batty ( Ruther Hauer in Bladerunner )
3. Archibald Cunningham ( Tim Roth in Rob Roy )
4. Mitch Leary ( John Malkovich in In the Line of Fire )
5. Vector ( voiced by Jason Segel in Despicable Me )

downtide's avatar

My top five villains:

Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in Silence of the Lambs
Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) in Blade Runner
Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) in The Shining
Annie Wilkes (Cathy Bates) in Misery
Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) in Psycho

mazingerz88's avatar

@downtide Yes! Roy Batty. One villain with a big surprise at the end. : )

downtide's avatar

@mazingerz88 I just love that death scene. Like tears in rain

mazingerz88's avatar

@downtide Sometime in the far, far future, a cyborg or an android with artificial intelligence would see Bladerunner. I hope he would be like Roy, more human than machine.

filmfann's avatar

Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in Silence of the Lambs
Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) in Blade Runner
The Joker (Heath Ledger) in The Dark Knight
Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) in Psycho
Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) in Inglourious Basterds

Before the movie was released, I was pretty sure Nolan made a mistake with casting Ledger, but my mind was changed forever when he performed his magic trick

filmfann's avatar

@mazingerz88 The point of Blade Runner is that the androids are without emotion, and only develop them if they have lived long enough. The 5 year life span mostly prevents this, mostly.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

I agree with @mazingerz88. While Ledger’s performance was outstanding, and he would have most likely been nominated for an Oscar either way, his death definitely contributed to his win, and the subsequent lionization of his acting abilities in the movie. So yes, there was hype, but it was hype based on a genuinely good job in a role that had high expectations attached to it before filming even started (iconic, familiar character that everyone knows and expects to be a certain way, and Jack Nicholson’s previous stint in the role).

Now, to the second part of your question. Only five?!? Okay… Five males and five females, in no particular order.

Female villains:

1. Mrs. Iselin (Angela Lansbury) in “The Manchurian Candidate”.

2. Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.

3. Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) in “All About Eve”.

4. Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) in “Misery”.

5. Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) in “Double Indemnity”.

Male villains:

1. Senator Palpatine/The Emperor (Ian McDiarmid) in the Star Wars films.

2. Henry F. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) in “It’s A Wonderful Life”.

3.Amon Göth (Ralph Fiennes) in “Schindler’s List”.

4. Dr. Christian Szell (Laurence Olivier) in “Marathon Man”.

5. Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) in “No Country For Old Men”.

ucme's avatar

Good, but not a patch on Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds, Waltz’s flawless performance is utterly without peer….....so far.

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