By staff writers and wires

January 12,

HEATH Ledger has won a Golden Globe award for his role as The Joker in The Dark Knight.

Ledger won the best supporting actor category at the awards, prompting a standing ovation from the audience of movie and TV stars.

The award was accepted by Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan. "All of us who worked with Heath on 'The Dark Knight' accept with an awful mixture of sadness but incredible pride," Nolan said.

"After Heath passed, you saw a hole ripped in the future of cinema. He will be eternally missed, but he'll never be forgotten."

Kate Winslet won the first award of the night, picking up the Best Suporting Actress (motion picture) trophy for her role in The Reader.

Launching into a relatively lengthy acceptance speech, Winslet said: "You have to forgive me because I have a habit of not winning things."

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photo: Winner ... Heath Ledger has taken out the best supporting actor Golden Globe today / AP