Actor Heath Ledger honored by Australian Film Institute

MUMBAI: The late Australian actor Heath Ledger has been awarded the Australian Film Institute’s international award for best actor for his performance in The Dark Knight as the Joker.

Ledger died of an accidental overdose of painkillers and other medicines in his New York apartment last year. He was 28.

He was also nominated for an Oscar for his role as a taciturn gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain.

The AFI, celebrating its 50th annual award ceremony, paid tribute to Ledger, describing him as "ground-breaking actor trapped in the body of a leading man. He was the untamed spirit many of us wish we could be. May the legend live on."

On the other hand, actress Cate Blanchett won the international award for best actor (female) for her role in Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Black Balloon won the best film award. The Castle was named Australia’s Favourite Film and the L’Oréal Paris AFI Young Actor Award went to Danielle Catanzariti for his role in Hey Hey It´s Esther Blueburger.

The AFI Award for Best Television Drama Series was bagged by Underbelly and the Award for Best Direction in Television went to Underbelly director Peter Andrikidis.