Casey Affleck took home the Best Actor gong for his role in Manchester by the Sea at the Gotham Independent Film Awards on Monday night (28Nov16).
The 41-year-old actor has already been tipped for success at the 2017 Oscars for his portrayal of a man who is made guardian of his teenage nephew after a family tragedy.
And Casey's road to possible Oscars glory began as he attended the ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in Manhattan on Monday.
The younger brother of Ben Affleck beat Jeff Bridges, Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver and Craig Robinson to be named winner of the prestigious Best Actor prize, and admitted he was thrilled with the honor as he took to the stage.
"This feels really good, I didn’t think I would care that much," Casey smiled during his acceptance speech.
Meanwhile, French actress Isabelle Huppert was the surprise winner of the Best Actress award for her work in Elle. While Natalie Portman, who was in attendance for the ceremony, had been expected to take home the gong for her portrayal of the late Jackie Kennedy, Isabelle beat the pregnant actress as well as Kate Beckinsale, Annette Bening and Ruth Negga to win the award.
Visibly overwhelmed by the honor, Isabelle told the audience: "They told me it was a very American award... and you’re French and you’ll never get it. I feel very American right now!"
Coming-of-age drama Moonlight, produced by Brad Pitt's production company Plan B, was one of the biggest hits of the evening - taking home gongs for Best Feature, Best Screenplay, the Special Jury Award For Ensemble Performance, and the audience award.
Amy Adams and Ethan Hawke were presented with Actors Tribute awards at the ceremony - Amy by Cate Blanchett and Ethan by his Reality Bites co-star Winona Ryder.
Accepting his award, Ethan praised the filmmaking community, adding: "We are planting a forest of ideas that will open up the access to compassion and the dept to our vision... so it is 100 per cent unnecessary to give me a prize for this."
Director Oliver Stone and producer Arnon Milchan also received their previously announced tributes during the evening.
The full list of winners at the 2016 Gotham Awards is as follows:
Best Feature - Moonlight
Best Actor - Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Best Actress - Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Gotham Independent Film Audience Award - Moonlight
Breakthrough Actor - Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch
Best Documentary - O.J.: Made in America
Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award - Trey Edward Shults, Krisha
Best Screenplay - Moonlight, Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney; Screenplay by Barry Jenkins
Breakthrough Series – Long Form - Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Breakthrough Series – Short Form - Her Story
Special Jury Award For Ensemble Performance - Moonlight - Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Alex Hibbert, Andre Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monae, Jaden Piner, Trevante Rhodes, and Ashton Sanders