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His death occurred during editing of The Dark Knight and in the midst of filming his last role as Tony in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
In his penultimate film performance, Ledger played the Joker in Christopher Nolan's 2008 film The Dark Knight, released nearly six months after his death.
Ledger had aspirations to become a film director and had made some music videos, which director Todd Haynes praised highly in his tribute to Ledger upon accepting the ISP Robert Altman Award, which Ledger posthumously shared, on 23 February 2008.
At a news conference at the 2007 Venice Film Festival, Ledger spoke of his desire to make a documentary film about the British singer-songwriter Nick Drake, who died in 1974, at the age of 26, from an overdose of an antidepressant.
To see him inhale the scent of a shirt hanging in Jack's closet is to take measure of the pain of love lost." After Brokeback Mountain, Ledger costarred with fellow Australian Abbie Cornish in the 2006 Australian film Candy, an adaptation of the 1998 novel Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction, as young heroin addicts in love attempting to break free of their addiction, whose mentor is played by Geoffrey Rush; for his performance as sometime poet Dan, Ledger was nominated for three "Best Actor" awards, including one of the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards, which both Cornish and Rush won in their categories.
Shortly after the release of Candy, Ledger was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
After his performance on stage at the 2005 Screen Actors Guild Awards, when he had giggled in presenting Brokeback Mountain as a nominee for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, the Los Angeles Times referred to his presentation as an "apparent gay spoof".