So then the next question on the table is this: is he Oscar good? Not really. Make no mistake though, this role is the kind of stuff reviewers drool over. And probably academy voters as well. But the problem with his performance is it's about this deep (you can't see this, but I'm putting my index and thumb very, very close together). There's nothing much to it. In the movie, what makes the Joker terrifying is that he's motivated by nothing. He doesn't want power, he doesn't want money, he doesn't want fame. He just wants chaos. That's a pretty scary thought and it gives the Joker some legitimacy among the bad boys of Gotham. But it's not real. I'm sure that 75% (probably more) of America goes to sleep believing that the terrorists are motivated by nothing more than chaos, and they would be wrong. To be motivated by nothing is to have no emotion. It's scary in thought, but it doesn't play very well. Or real.
There have been lots of actors who have played crazy in the past. And it's made me wonder how hard is it really? To laugh inappropriately. To have weird and obscure ticks. To act like nothing matters. It's not hard. And that's why I don't believe Ledger deserves an Oscar. Because behind those crazy eyes, there's nothing. It may make for a great performance in a middle of the summer blockbuster, but it doesn't make for performances that deserve an Oscar.