The Australian Film Institute bestowed the international award for best actor on Ledger - the country's equivalent of an Oscar - 11 months after he was found dead of an accidental prescription drug overdose in his New York apartment.
Guests at the Princess Theater in Melbourne gave a standing ovation to Ledger's memory, many with tears in their eyes.
Ledger's sister Kate accepted the award of his behalf.
"It has been without a doubt the most difficult year, losing such a loved family member," she says fighting back tears. "We are so proud of him and humbly accept this award on behalf of his beautiful daughter, whom we will cherish forever."
Meanwhile Michelle Williams, Ledger's former fiancee and the mother of his daughter, is still in deep mourning. In her first major interview since his death, Williams broke down in tears at first mention of the actor's name.
"It's a strange thing to say, because I'm at heart an optimistic person, but I would say in some ways it just gets worse," Williams tells Newsweek. "It's just that the more time that passes, the more you miss someone."
December 7, 2008
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