As part of promoting the upcoming 84th Academy Awards, the Oscars has released a gallery of promotional photos intended to help celebrate the movies. Each of the photos has the introduction line “We showed you how to” followed with an ending that goes along with the image in the picture. For example, a picture of Luke Skywalker in a lightsaber battle with Darth Vader says, “We showed you how to be a family.”
Most of the photos are fairly innocent, but one in particular is starting to generate some controversy online. In a photo with the caption “We showed you how to go mad,” Heath Ledger is shown as the Joker in the Dark Knight movie. Obviously, the photo and caption are intended to pay tribute to Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker for which he posthumously won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
The caption goes along with the character of the Joker, just like the other photo captions go along with other characters portrayed in various movies. However, some online fans are questioning if the photo combined with the caption might be in poor taste. As pretty much everyone knows, Heath Ledger passed away shortly after completing filming for his role in the Dark Knight.
While the actual cause of Ledger’s death was an accidental prescription drug overdose, there was much online speculation at the time that playing a madman in the Dark Knight might have contributed. While the possibility was vehemently denied by some close to Ledger, the speculation was that the Joker role caused Ledger stress and anxiety which led to insomnia and the need for some of the prescription pills in question.
Because of the speculation around Ledger’s death, it raises the question of if the captioned photo of him might have an unintended double meaning which could be construed as controversial. Weigh in with your opinion in the comment section below. Is the ad merely a great way of paying tribute to an incredible acting performance? Or is it exploiting Ledger’s death and pushing the boundaries of good taste?