Heath Ledger's dad on his posthumous Oscar win: 'Peer recognition was important'

By Gemma Strong

Heath Ledger was honoured with a posthumous Best Actor Oscar for his powerful performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight seven years ago, which his father says was "bittersweet. The actor died at the age of 28 just one year earlier.

With the 2016 Academy Awards just around the corner, Heath's father has opened up about the star's posthumous triumph – one of only eight in Oscars history – and has explained why the honour meant so much to his family.

Heath Ledger won the 2009 Best Actor Oscar for his role in The Dark Knight

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about the 2009 ceremony, Kim Ledger, 66, said: "Bittersweet is probably the best way I can describe that night. It was only a year and a month since his passing. We hadn't got our heads around the tragedy of losing him, but at the same time he was receiving such accolades for what he knew was his best work."

The award was the most esteemed of the 98 trophies Heath received over the course of his career. "It was peer recognition that was important to Heath, and the Oscars was the epitome of that," explained his father, who collected the trophy on his son's behalf.

Heath's family - father Kim, mom Sally and sister Kate - pictured with his Academy Award

Heath's Oscar is currently on display at the Western Australian Museum in Perth, as part of a collection that also includes his Dark Knight costumes, letters and diaries. Eventually though, the statue will be where it belongs – in the hands of Heath's 10-year-old daughter Matilda.

The little girl, who was just a toddler when her father died, currently lives in Brooklyn with her actress mother Michelle Williams, and Kim said when she is ready, all of Heath's memorabilia will be hers.

Kim has confirmed that Heath's daughter Matilda will one day inherit the trophy

"Michelle is aware the Oscar remains secured with the museum," he said. "At the end of the day, everything is there for Matilda, and when she can take possession of it, it's all hers."

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