Christian Bale Dedicates ‘Dark Knight’ People’s Choice Awards To Heath Ledger

Will Smith, Carrie Underwood, Kid Rock and Chris Brown are among other fan-approved winners.

LOS ANGELES — Just a handful of days before Barack Obama takes office, change was in the air at Wednesday night’s 35th Annual People’s Choice Awards, as evidenced by host [movieperson id="35938"]Queen Latifah[/movieperson]‘s opening monologue urging stars to scream, “Yes, we can!” But some things remained the same in 2009: namely, the popularity of [movieperson id="55545"]Adam Sandler[/movieperson], [movieperson id="58720"]Will Smith[/movieperson], [artist id="1933910"]Carrie Underwood[/artist] and [movie id="306605"]“The Dark Knight.”[/movie]

“It’s very exciting,” “Dark Knight” producer Charles Roven marveled, moments before his blockbuster won all five of the awards for which it was nominated. “It’s always incredibly rewarding when the people vote.”

Roven accompanied “Knight” talents [movieperson id="3146"]Christian Bale[/movieperson], [movieperson id="189096"]Aaron Eckhart[/movieperson] and [movieperson id="205647"]Christopher Nolan[/movieperson] onstage to accept awards for Favorite Action Movie, Favorite Cast, Favorite On Screen Match Up (for Bale and [movieperson id="233661"]Heath Ledger[/movieperson]) and the big enchilada, Favorite Movie.

“Thank you very, very much,” Bale said to the crowd while accepting the awards. “And on behalf of all of the cast from the movie, thank you very much to the fans. Here’s to Heath. Thank you.”

Unlike some of the other People’s Choice winners, “Knight” is the kind of rare film that is taking home trophies in both critical and populist ceremonies, a fact that wasn’t lost on Roven. “We’ve had a really nice week so far,” he said. “We were nominated for a Writers Guild Award for adapted screenplay, and a Producers Guild Award, and our DP was nominated for a Cinematographers Award. … I’ve grown up with comics. Graphic novels and comics are great literature, they’re great literary vehicles. And to be able to translate that to the big screen and turn it into something epic was done remarkably well by Chris Nolan, and all of us who worked on the film.”

The world-famous L.A. traffic delayed several stars from the show ([movieperson id="15690"]Ellen DeGeneres[/movieperson] presented an award for [movieperson id="228812"]Kate Hudson[/movieperson], explaining that she was running late), but that didn’t stop the big night from showering awards on the actors and musicians. [movieperson id="67798"]Reese Witherspoon[/movieperson] took home the Favorite Female Movie Star award for letting a baby barf on her in [movie id="358842"]“Four Christmases,”[/movie] and “House” star Hugh Laurie and a few dozen of his cast and crew grabbed Favorite TV Drama.

“This is the fans voting, which is great,” a noticeably taller, older-looking [movieperson id="266286"]Dakota Fanning[/movieperson] beamed, as the [movie id="376515"]“Secret Life of Bees”[/movie] star walked the red carpet before the show. “I’m presenting, and the movie is nominated two times tonight.”

Once inside the Shrine Auditorium, Fanning sat alongside such other stars as [movieperson id="103539"]Robin Williams[/movieperson], [artist id="10551"]Kid Rock[/artist] and Witherspoon and was treated to an ear-pleasing, high-note-hitting performance by Underwood. “Bees” took home the awards for Favorite Independent Movie and Favorite Movie Drama. Underwood grabbed Favorite Female Singer and Favorite Country Song (for “Last Name”), while the incomparable [artist id="1273069"]Chris Brown[/artist] took home Favorite Male Singer and Favorite Combined Forces for his collaboration with [artist id="2807016"]Jordin Sparks[/artist] on “No Air.” Brown addressed the crowd live via satellite from Dublin.

“It’s all about the fans, and they’re the ones that picked it,” [movie id="343105"]“27 Dresses”[/movie] star [movieperson id="402115"]Malin Akerman[/movieperson] insisted after scooping up Favorite Comedy Movie with [movieperson id="27853"]Katherine Heigl[/movieperson]. “It’s fun, because every time you see the fans, they’re excited. And that gets you excited. It’s good to know they like what we’re doing.”

Other winners included Kid Rock (Favorite Rock Song), Hudson (Favorite Leading Lady), Smith (Favorite Male Movie Star and Favorite Male Action Star) and [movie id="328529"]“Wall-E”[/movie] (Favorite Family Movie). [artist id="501686"]Britney Spears[/artist] lost Favorite Scene Stealing Guest Star to Robin Williams, but super-couple [movieperson id="50260"]Brad Pitt[/movieperson] and [movieperson id="31834"]Angelina Jolie[/movieperson] added some new trophies to their family collection: Favorite Leading Man and Favorite Female Action Star.

“It feels fantastic; it’s a popular award,” “Bees” winner Paul Bettany said. “There’s something really special about having the audience vote for you. I was just speaking to Gina [Prince-Bythewood], the director, about it. We all feel really honored to be nominated.”

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