On the cusp of what may be an Oscar-winning evening for the late Heath Ledger, one promising young actor is being given a shot at Hollywood in his honor.
Sydney-based actor Oliver Ackland, 29, was on Thursday named the inaugural recipient of the Australians in Film Heath Ledger Scholarship. The award, which includes $10,000 and flights between Australia and Los Angeles, will be given annually to a rising Australian actor in need of that extra push to (hopefully) make it in film. The scholarship was created by such stars as Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Michele Williams, and Naomi Watts to honor the late Ledger, who passed away last year at the age of 28.
“[Ackland is] a great actor and he’s really likeable,” Ledger’s good friend and Ned Kelly director Gregor Jordan, a judge on the panel, told PEOPLE at the Australians in Film Academy Award Celebration in Los Angeles. “He’s got [a sort of] Jude Law look. Maybe he’s an Aussie Jude Law, who knows?”
Congrats to Ackland on the scholarship — and good luck!