Co-starring Heath Ledger
Released: Six months after death
Even before Ledger's death, the buzz for The Dark Knight was deafening, with his mysterious, highly anticipated performance as Batman's time-honored archnemesis The Joker fueling the hype. Then Ledger died, under curious circumstances (accidental overdose of prescription sleeping pills) that seemingly implied that portraying the Clown Prince of Crime had taken a toll on the committed thespian.
We'll never know if he sacrificed his sanity, but he definitely put everything he had into The Joker, more than holding his own against Jack Nicholson's iconic 1989 turn and helping The Dark Knight transcend normal "superhero movie" trappings to become a bonafide phenomenon. The part earned him a deserved 2009 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, making him the second actor to win a posthumous Academy Award.