Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan pays tribute to the late star

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated January 11, 2009 08:10 PM
Credit: John Spellman/Retna

The Golden Globes turned emotional Sunday night, with the naming of Heath Ledger as best supporting dramatic actor for his role as the Joker in the summer blockbuster The Dark Knight.

Presenter Demi Moore announced that a brief clip of Ledger’s work in the film had been prepared. Afterwards, Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan accepted Ledger’s posthumous award, and said he did so with “a mixture of sadness and incredible pride.”

Nolan said that rather than dwelling upon the gap left by Ledger’s death he preferred to concentrate on “the incredible place in the history of world cinema he built for himself.”

In another emotional moment, Sally Hawkins, acclaimed for her role as a North London schoolteacher in the comedy Happy-Go-Lucky, was named best actress in a comedy or musical – over as she called them, such “goddesses”] as Meryl Streep, Frances McDormand and Emma Thompson.

As a tearful Hawkins became choked up on the stage, Thompson flashed her hand signals to make sure she was okay.

Just before, British comedian Ricky Gervais cracked up the crowd when he reminded the evening’s supporting actress honoree Kate Winslet, for The Reader, that she’d win if she did a Holocaust movie. (That was the plotline of Winslet’s guest appearance on Gervais’s HBO series Extras).

The Jonas Brothers presented the best animated feature Globe to the makers of Disney-Pixar’s WALL-E.

Jennifer Lopez Starts the Show

Jennifer Lopez kicked off the show by presenting the night’s first award. “Hello! Mama talking! Mama talking!” she said as she tried to quiet the crowd to read the names of the nominees.

Within a minute, “Mama” announced the evening’s first winner, Kate Winslet, as the best supporting actress, for The Reader. In it, Winslet plays a German woman with a hidden past for her activities during World War II.

Clutching her trophy and unwrapping a sheet of paper, Winslet explained the length of her speech by saying, “I have a habit of not winning.”

To her husband – and Revolutionary Road director – Sam Mendes, she said, “I’m sorry I was so mental at the end.” Then, she waved to her two children, Mia and Joe, and said, “Look, I won!”

Bruce Springsteen, winning for his best song from The Wrestler, said laughing, “This is the only time I’ll be in competition with Clint Eastwood. It felt pretty good too.”

In the small screen division, Anna Paquin was honored for her leading role as a vampire lover on the HBO dramatic series True Blood, while Gabriel Byrne – who wasn’t at the ceremony – won as best actor for his starring role on the same network’s In Therapy.

Back to the Glitz

Billed as “the glamorous return of the Golden Globes,” Sunday night’s 66th awards ceremony, airing on NBC, brought an influx of stars to the Beverly Hilton Hotel’s grand ballroom for a champagne banquet – a stark contrast to last year’s scaled-down telecast owing to the Hollywood writers’ strike.

Last year’s situation also prevented Steven Spielberg from being presented the Cecil B. DeMille Award for career achievement, an omission to be rectified this year.