So I saw it last night. It was very, very, very good. In fact, the only problem I had was that we saw a 12:30 showing, so by the time the final action sequences rolled around, it was like almost three and I was (enthralled, yes, but also) exhausted. I definitely want to see it again, when I'm fully awake and can appreciate its awesomeness as a whole.
That said, yes, Heath Ledger did a tremendous job as the Joker. He's a heartless psychopath, but he's also charismatic, funny, and yes, even likable. No, I'm not just saying that because omg it was Heath's last role. No, I don't think he's going to win an Oscar for it. A lot of people--including Michael fucking Caine, which is like, you're in this movie so it sounds weird that you're recommending this--are betting, or at least hoping, that Ledger gets an Oscar. But this is Batman. As good as the movie was, do you really think the Academy is going to recognize any film that sells merchandise at Toys R Us for acting? Of course not.
Well, he could at least get a nomination out of respect for his life and work, right? It's sweet in theory, but I don't think that'll happen, unless autumn doesn't bring as many Oscar-baiting films as expected. He should--and probably will--get his own video tribute, at the least.
Ledger's performance was great, no doubt, but I think talk about giving him an Oscar misses the point. The fact is that he brilliantly transformed himself into this other character. Whether or not he gets a posthumous award is irrelevant--appreciating his character, and the film as a whole, is both important and pretty damn entertaining; his marvelous portrayal as the Joker is the truest testament to a career that ended too quickly and a talented actor whose work will live on.