Tough sell ... Heath Ledger as the Joker in the Dark Knight
Spare a thought for the posthumous Oscar winners, the ones who are unable to accept their award in person. This sparsely populated guest-list extends right back to Gone With the Wind writer Sidney Howard, who was all set to attend the ceremony right up until the moment his tractor rolled on top of him.
Next February could see the arrival of a fresh ghost at the party, with the late Heath Ledger installed as the unlikely frontrunner for the best supporting actor award. The Australian actor died earlier this year, shortly after completing his scary, slippery performance as the Joker in the next Batman blockbuster. "The Academy tend to overlook movies like this," admitted his Dark Knight co-star Gary Oldman. "But his acting is so good it's going to be hard for them to avoid it." Elsewhere, the Oscar campaign is already underway. According to US entertainment writer Sam Rubin, Ledger is now the "hands-down favourite" to take the prize.