Francis Specker/Landov
Kristin Boehm
January 09, 2009 09:35 AM

Slumdog Millionaire cleaned up at this year’s Critics’ Choice Awards, but it was Anne Hathaway who got twice the thrill by tying for best actress with one of her all-time role models.

“Meryl [Streep] is my idol,” Hathaway – winner for her role in Rachel Getting Married – said backstage at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium Thursday night. “To win with my idol who I was nominated against is amazing. I’m so thrilled for her and I’m very thrilled for myself, too.” Streep shared the best-actress win for her work as a nun in Doubt.

Hathaway told PEOPLE it is “overwhelming” to be recognized by critics and peers with so many nominations this awards season – accolades she expected it would take much longer to rack up.

“I thought maybe by the time I was 50 I would be in this kind of, I might have gotten here, and I kind of gave myself until 50 to get nominated for something. So for it to happen at 26 in almost half the amount of time I’m pretty thrilled!” she said.

Still fresh from her break up with Raffaello Follieri, the actress, who says she’ll be bringing her mom to the Golden Globes, thanked her father during her acceptance speech, saying he “protects me and has shown me that there are good men in this world and lets me know everyday that I am worthy of the love of good people.”

Also honored: Heath Ledger. Dark Knight director Chris Nolan picked up the late Australian actor’s award for best supporting actor, saying working with Ledger was “one of the greatest experiences any of us ever had or probably ever will have.”

“I’d like to think that [Heath] would be quite proud of the effect that his role in the Dark Knight has had over audiences,” Nolan said. “He was a joy to work with. He’s incredibly missed and his contribution to cinema should be greatly appreciated so thank you for this measure of appreciation”

14th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards: The Winners

• Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
• Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
• Actress: Tie: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married, and Meryl Streep, Doubt
• Supporting actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
• Supporting actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader
• Acting ensemble: Milk
• Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
• Writer: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
• Animated feature: WALL-E
• Young actor/actress: Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire
• Action movie: The Dark Knight
• Comedy movie: Tropic Thunder
• Picture made for television: John Adams
• Foreign language film: Waltz With Bashir
• Documentary feature: Man On Wire
• Song: The Wrestler, Bruce Springsteen
• Composer: A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire
• Joel Siegel award: Richard Gere

With reporting from EUNICE OH

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