Christian Bale

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for PCA

Was there any doubt that fans would remember 2008 as the year of the Caped Crusader and his gnarliest nemesis yet?

The Dark Knight went five for five and was named Favorite Movie at the 35th Annual People's Choice Awards, which returned to its usual star-studdedness Wednesday after an '08 broadcast held at the height of the actor-supported Hollywood writers' strike.

The serious Oscar contender was also rewarded for its awesomeness with honors for Favorite Cast, Action Movie and Onscreen Matchup, which spotlighted Christian Bale and Heath Ledger. Bale was also deemed the year's Favorite Superhero.

"Thank you very, very much," said Bale, flanked by Aaron Eckhart and director Christopher Nolan, upon accepting the evening's top award. "And on behalf of all of the cast from the movie, thank you very much to the fans. Here's to Heath, thank you."

Also indicating the people's enjoyment of a good walk on the dark side in '08 was their choice for Favorite TV Drama, House.

"I have no idea who these people are," a tuxedo-clad Hugh Laurie, surrounded by castmates and crew, said in accepting the honor. "This is just a small representative sample of the many, what, 200 or so, people who work so hard to make the show House. They couldn't be here, because this is all the tuxedos we've got."

Hugh Laurie

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for PCA

Laurie also had a chance to make his feelings about the people—"Really, I'm in favor of them"—known when he won for Favorite Male TV Star earlier in the evening.

Samantha Who? star Christina Applegate, in accepting the female counterpart of that award, thanked her many fans for their support during her recent battle against breast cancer. "It didn't go unnoticed, thank you," she said.

Queen Latifah, apparently not burned out by last year's celebrityless awards show, returned as host of the event at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium and later helped accept the award for Favorite Movie, Drama, with some of her Secret Life of Bees costars.

The honoring kicked off with an only-in-L.A. moment, as Ellen DeGeneres stepped in to present the award for Favorite Funny Male Star (to Adam Sandler) in place of a tardy Kate Hudson.

"She's in traffic, she's 40 minutes away, so...let's wait," DeGeneres deadpanned. "That's no way to sell a movie, Kate."

Ellen DeGeneres, Kate Hudson

Kevin Winter/ Getty Images for PCA; Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for PCA

The pertinent zingers continued a few minutes later as she accepted the award for Favorite Talk Show Host.

"And to my roommate, Portia, thank you very much, as well," the no-longer-legally-married DeGeneres said in wrapping up her acceptance speech, referencing the passage of Proposition 8 in November.

While only a relative handful of the more than 40 categories were addressed during the two-hour broadcast, the purely fan-driven kudosfest honored the heck out of the stars who showed.

Among those on hand to grab their heavy little trophies were Carrie Underwood, the most-winning individual of the night with three awards, including top female singer, Favorite Star 35 & Under and best country song for "Last Name"; Favorite Female Movie Star Reese Witherspoon; Robin Williams, who won Favorite Scene-Stealing Guest Star for his murderous turn on Law & Order: SVU yet still failed to capture the win for most annoying use of accents; and Kid Rock, who toted the Favorite Rock Song award home for "All Summer Long."

And lucky for her, Hudson arrived in time to accept the award for Favorite Leading Lady from Gavin Rossdale and wish her son, Ryder, who turned 5 today, a happy birthday.

For more on the celebs of the hour, check out our 2009 People's Choice Awards Gallery:

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