7 Dec 2008

Ledger honoured by Australian Film Institute

7:47 am on 7 December 2008

The late Australian actor Heath Ledger has been posthumously honoured with one of his country's top film awards.

Ledger was granted the Australian Film Institute's (AFI) international award for best actor for playing The Joker in the Batman movie, The Dark Knight.

Ledger, 28, died in January of an accidental overdose of painkillers and other medicines. He was nominated for an Oscar for his role as a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain in 2005.

Amid a standing ovation, his sister Kate accepted the award in Melbourne's Princess Theatre, accompanied by her parents.

The AFI was celebrating its 50th annual award ceremony.

Cate Blanchett won the equivalent award for women for her role in Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

Black Balloon, a drama about a teenage boy learning to live with an autistic brother, won the award for best film.

Stars Luke Ford and Toni Collette won the awards for best supporting actor and actress.

Director and co-writer Elissa Down won the awards for best direction and original screenplay.