Heath Ledger's critically acclaimed performance as the Joker in "The Dark Knight" garnered him a posthumous supporting-actor Golden Globe nomination, lending credence to the predictions that he'll also earn an Oscar nomination for the role. The family of the actor, who died of an accidental drug overdose in January, released a statement after the nomination was announced Thursday morning (December 11).

"We thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for honoring Heath's performance in 'The Dark Knight,' " Ledger's father, Kim Ledger, told People in a statement sent from his home in Ledger's native Perth, Australia. "This nomination is deeply appreciated and is not lost on those of us who continue to love and miss him. We are so proud our boy's work is being recognized in this way."

The late actor is up against Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr. for their roles in "Tropic Thunder," Ralph Fiennes for "The Duchess" and Philip Seymour Hoffman for his role in "Doubt." Despite overwhelming success at the box office, Ledger's nomination is the only one that "The Dark Knight" received.

Ledger, an Oscar nominee for "Brokeback Mountain," had already received advance praise for his work as Batman's mentally unstable nemesis when he was found dead in his New York City apartment on January 22 at the age of 28. If he goes on to win an Oscar next year, it will be the first posthumous Academy Award given in 32 years.