Music & Memories

Naomi Watts to judge Heath Ledger prize

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Actress Naomi Watts, actor Gary Oldman and Glee creator Ryan Murphy will help change a young actor's life as members of the jury for this year's Heath Ledger Scholarship.

They'll be joined by Australian producer Bruna Papandrea (Big Little Lies) and Oscar-winning producer Emile Sherman (Lion) ; executive producer, director, writer Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don't Cry); director Gregor Jordon (Two Hands) and actress Jacqueline McKenzie ( NCIS: Los Angeles).

The scholarship, which was established in 2008 in memory of the late Perth-born actor Heath Ledger, gives assistance to an emerging Australian actor attempting to break into Hollywood. It's open to all Australian actors 18-35 years old.

"Heath Ledger was one of the top actors of his generation. I am grateful and honoured to be asked by AiF (Australians in Film) and the Ledger family to be on the judging panel for this year's scholarship. I am excited to see some of the new and remarkable young acting talent coming out of Australia right now," Ryan Murphy said.

The prize is designed to help an Australian actor in LA and includes $10,000 in cash, $5,000 rent assistance and a $1,000 LA ride-hailing app credit, along with film festival tickets, acting classes and personal coaching.

"The objective of the scholarship is to 'smooth the way' and 'open doors' allowing the recipient to focus all their energy and efforts on getting work. It's such a thrill to diversify casting in Hollywood and we encourage everyone to apply," Kate Ledger, sister of Heath and AiF Board member said.

Previous recipients have included Bella Heathcote (Fifty Shades Darker) Ryan Corr (Packed To The Rafters) and last year's winner Ashleigh Cummings, who will be seen in the upcoming feature Pork Pie.

* Applications are open until April 4 at 6pm (PST) - Heath Ledger's birthdate. Apply here http://australiansinfilm.org/HeathLedgerScholarship

© AAP 2017 Naomi Watts attends a virtual tour of Australia at Hudson Mercantile in New York City, NY, USA, on January 23, 2017.. Photo By Dennis Van Tine/ABACAPRESS.COM

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