Re: Did Heath Ledger REALLY earn the Oscar a few years ago?
If you watch things in the wrong context then it's hard to see certain things. You can say that so many performances, in hindsight, didn't deserve Oscars but it's generally a case of familiarity clouding your view.
I was blown away by Heath Ledger's Joker when I first saw The Dark Knight. I raved about it and watched it in the cinema at least 4 times. Now I still think it's amazing to watch but over 4 years later and the fact that I sing the script along with him, it's no longer blowing me away; it's just familiar.
Of course, his death added an extra bit of interest to his performance, but even as they were creating the film Heath Ledger was getting praise and spoken about as one of the best issues of character-acting of the year. That was whilst the film was in production and Ledger was still alive. Certainly his death helped him to attain the Oscar, anybody who says otherwise is wrong in my opinion, but that's not because it wasn't Oscar-worthy it was simply because of the type of role it was.
I think Ledger definitely deserved the Oscar, and in my opinion the only reason people don't think he does over 4 years later is we are so used to seeing his performance. It wasn't THE greatest performance ever, but within the context of the film and of the time, it most definitely deserved the praise it got, and the praise Ledger gained from it.