Ledger's daughter to get Oscar statuette if he wins

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 20, 2009 05:43 hrs

Late Heath Ledger's three-year-old daughter Matilda will finally become the proud owner of the Oscar statuette if he wins a posthumous award for his supporting role in The Dark Knight on February 22.

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Ledger is nominated for his supporting role as the Joker in the Batman movie and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided Matilda will be handed the accolade should the actor triumph at the Oscars.

In case Ledger wins, the Academy will hold the statuette until Matilda's 18th birthday, when she will be able to sign the contract required of all winners. The document bars award recipients from reselling the statuette without first offering it back to the Academy for $1.

Matilda's mother and Ledger's ex-fiancee, actress Michelle Williams, would serve as the legal custodian of the Oscar for the next 15 years.

"It's complicated, because there are two different questions that have to be answered. First, we have to decide who gets the job of accepting the award onstage on the night of the ceremony. And then there's the question of the eventual disposition of the posthumous statuette, which may not stay with the person who accepts it.

"At that point, she may execute what we call an heir's agreement and keep the statuette forever - or, if she chooses not to do that, it will return to us."

The Academy has not revealed who will accept the award on Ledger's behalf on Sunday night.

Ledger died on January 22, 2008 from an accidental prescription drug overdose at his New York home. He was 28.

He was honoured with the Best Supporting Actor trophy at the Golden Globes last month and won the same prize at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards earlier this month.

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