The flap's a small one, but remember that Russell Crow's front-runner status in the 2002 race for Best Actor took a nose-dive after it was revealed he beat up the band director at the BAFTA awards that year. The eventual winner was Denzel Washington for "Training Day." So, from that perspective, the following may have sealed Heath's fate.
Much Ado About...Heath at the SAG
Apparently, there was some sort of commentary buzzing about Heath and Jake's awkward, giggly intro for Brokeback at the SAGs. People were left shaking their heads - Heath called in to the LA Times to explain why. But for some reason, the whole thing might been better off left alone. Nonetheless, OH NO THEY DIDN'T is running, so there you go.
Heath Ledger is in Oscar damage control after his bizarre giggling behaviour at the recent Screen Actors Guild Awards.
The Australian Oscar nominee raised eyebrows when he appeared on stage during the January 29 ceremony at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium with Jake Gyllenhaal to introduce their nominated film, Brokeback Mountain.
The job was simple.
Ledger and Gyllenhaal had to read a blurb from an autocue about Brokeback Mountain, just as actors from the four other nominees for the Outstanding Performance by a Cast SAG category - Crash, Capote, Hustle & Flow and Good Night, and Good Luck - were called on to do.
Ledger's behaviour, with Hollywood's A-List crowd sitting before him and a worldwide audience watching on TV, was odd.
Some wondered if, as the Los Angeles Times described it, he was performing "some kind of gay spoof".
Ledger was giggling, his body was slumped and his left hand was on his hip in a "teacup" position.
It is not the kind of behaviour that would impress the 5,798 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who will decide on March 5 if Ledger should be honoured with the best actor Oscar, ahead of the distinguished Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
Ledger was apparently so horrified about the reaction to his SAG performance he called the LA Times to set the record straight.
"I am so sorry and I apologise for my nervousness," Ledger told the newspaper.
"I would be absolutely horrified if my stage fright was misinterpreted as a lack of respect for the film, the topic and for the amazing filmmakers."
Ledger blamed his behaviour on a mix-up.
He said he was sitting with his Brokeback Mountain castmates at the ceremony when he asked Gyllenhaal who would be introducing their film.
"I leaned over and asked Jake and he said, 'We are. Didn't you get the script?' I said, 'What?' I thought it was a script for the Directors Guild Awards a few nights earlier," Ledger said.
There was no time to rehearse as they were soon called on stage.
"I am not a public speaker and never will be ... I'm just not one of those naturally funny, relaxed actors who enjoy the spotlight and are so good at it," Ledger said.
"And this was really weird because we were basically introducing ourselves, like here's this brilliant cast and guess what, it's us."
That's why he acted like a giggly kid.
"How can you say all that stuff - 'two brave cowboys' - with a straight face", he said.
"It was just so surreal."
Ledger also explained what he described as his "teacup hand" position.
"I've stood like that since I was a kid," Ledger said.
"You can ask me mum. It's nerves I guess."
Ledger's apology came at a crucial time in his Oscar campaign.
Last Wednesday the Academy mailed the final ballots to the Oscar voters. Ledger's apology appeared in Friday's LA Times, the day most voters would have received their ballots.
It is a well known rule in Hollywood that Oscar nominees need to be on their best behaviour in the lead-up to the Academy Awards.
Russell Crowe's infamous confrontation with the TV producer of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) telecast in 2002 is part of Hollywood folklore.
Crowe was the favourite for the best actor Oscar for A Beautiful Mind, but after he blasted the producer for cutting short a poem he wanted to recite in his BAFTA acceptance speech, the New Zealand-born actor was snubbed by Oscar voters.
Crowe's blow-up that year also came at the worst time - when the Oscar voters received their final ballots.
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