And the Oscar Goes to … Matilda, If Ledger Wins

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 18, 2009 12:08 PM CST
Heath Ledger.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – If Heath Ledger is named best supporting actor at Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony, his 3-year-old daughter will become the owner of the statuette. But it won't really belong to Matilda Rose Ledger until her 18th birthday, in 2023—and even then, only if she signs a contract. Ledger's nomination, and his daughter's age, led to one of the trickiest situations the academy has dealt with in its eight decades of awarding posthumous Oscars.

Because she is only 3, Matilda is legally unable to sign the winner's agreement—a contract required of all nominees that says the recipient will not resell his or her Oscar without first offering it back to the academy for $1. The agreement is the academy's way of limiting what might otherwise be a lively secondary market in Oscars. "The statuette will be held in trust for his daughter by her mother, Michelle Williams, until Matilda reaches the age of 18," the Academy said.