01/07/2009 at 06:00 PM EST
Many bold-faced names, including Nicole Kidman
and Hugh Jackman
have stepped up to support the new Heath Ledger Scholarship being run by the L.A.-based non profit, Australians in Film.
On Wednesday, the group announced that actress Rachel Griffiths and director Gregor Jordan are among those named to be on the panel of five judges for the $10,000 scholarship, which will be awarded to one emerging Australian actor to pursue a career in the United States.
Benefactors of the scholarship, which honors the memory of the late Dark Knight
actor, include Jackman and his wife Deborra Lee Furness, Naomi Watts, and Michelle Williams.
"We are fortunate to have a judging panel and benefactors comprised of such leaders in the entertainment community who add immeasurably to the integrity and prestige of the scholarship," said Susie Dobson, president of Australians in Film.
"Australians in Film received a staggering number of applications, and the caliber of applicants is extremely high," said AiF board VP Paula Paizes, who is chair of the Heath Ledger Scholarship committee. "My fellow judges and I have our work cut out for us over the coming month."