As Nate Silver has foretold, the only thing standing between Heath Ledger and an Oscar win for Best Supporting Actor is the 106 hours and change that will transpire between now and Sunday night’s Academy Awards spectacle. And while we’re still not entirely sure who will go onstage to accept Ledger’s award (all signs point to Christopher Nolan), an Associated Press story this morning confirms that the Oscar will one day end up in the possession of his 3-year-old daughter, Matilda Rose Ledger. There is a catch, though: Not only will she have to sign a labyrinthine contract, but she’ll also have to wait fifteen years to get it!
Well, sort of. You see, the Academy makes everyone who wins an Oscar sign an agreement stating that they will not sell their Oscar unless they first offer it back to the Academy for the low, low price of one American dollar.* And those stingy lawyers at AMPAS aren’t about to let someone sign their paperwork with a crayon:
“From our point of view, somebody has to sign the winner’s agreement, and a 3-year-old can’t do that,” says Bruce Davis, executive director of the academy. “Nor can a parent sign any kind of legal document that obligates a child to do something once they turn 18. I didn’t know that before we looked into it, but it’s a good law.”
So what does that mean? Well, if the 85.8 percent odds hold out in favor of Ledger, that means that the trophy will end up being remanded to Michelle Williams until the time that Matilda turns 18, at which point she’ll be able to decide whether or not she wants to keep the trophy. Which isn’t entirely awful, considering that Susan Lucci had to wait 21 years before she was able to pick up her first Emmy Award!
*After what went down with Florence Klotz’s Tony award, those guys really oughtta be looking into adding a clause like this into their contracts.