His medal and diploma were placed on an empty chair to mark his absence.
Xiaobo is serving an 11-year sentence at Jinzhou Prison in northeastern China for urging sweeping changes to Beijing's one-party communist political system.
Xiaobo's suporters, including his wife, were even placed under house arrest in China to prevent them from picking up the presitigious, $1.4 million award.
"Somehow the award becomes larger in his absence," said actor and activist Richard Gere. "That empty chair is far more eloquent than his physical presence. I think it speaks to the reality of the situation in China right now."
Gere was among the activists standing at the /*United Nations*/ in support of Xiaobo.
China calls the award an attack on its political and legal system.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.