Journalism drama Spotlight shone brightly at the 2015 Gotham Independent Film Awards, taking three of the top prizes including Best Feature at Monday's (30Nov15) ceremony.
Writer Tom McCarthy's expose about the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal in Boston, Massachusetts landed the coveted honor, beating out the likes of Carol, Heaven Knows What, Tangerine and The Diary of a Teenage Girl.
McCarthy and his writing partner Josh Singer were also handed the Best Screenplay prize, while Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, Brian d'Arcy James, John Slattery and Billy Crudup were given Special Jury Award Ensemble Performance for their roles in the film.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl, which went into the ceremony with four nominations, only took home one award for star Bel Powley, who won Best Actress, while Paul Dano was presented with the Best Actor award for his portrayal of musician Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy.
Acclaimed comedy/drama Tangerine scored two wins - the Gotham Independent Film Audience Award and Breakthrough Actor accolade for its star, actress Mya Taylor.
Jury members for the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) organization handed out two new awards, with the Breakthrough Series: Short Form going to web series Shugs & Fats, and sci-fi TV series Mr. Robot landing the Breakthrough Series: Long Form prize.
Other winners included Mediterranea filmmaker Jonas Carpignano (Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award) and The Look of Silence (Best Documentary).
Robert De Niro presented Helen Mirren with a tribute for her career achievements, while newsman Dan Rather feted Robert Redford with the actor tribute.
"Well that's an overwhelming tribute," Redford said after a video montage of his films was shown. "It kind of makes me shy, if you can believe it. But I'll take it... I'm being honored as an actor, and that touches me because that's how it all started."
Carol filmmaker Todd Haynes was feted with a similar award for his directing achievements.
The Big Apple prizegiving traditionally kicks off the film world's awards season with winners often going on to land Oscar nominations and wins.
Broad City comediennes Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson hosted the 25th annual event at Cipriani Wall Street in New York.