Moonlight emerges as early Oscar contender after dominating Gotham film awards

2016 IFP Gotham Awards

Moonlight has emerged as an early Oscar contender after it dominated at the Gotham Independent Film Awards.

The coming-of-age drama, directed by Barry Jenkins, won best feature, best screenplay, a special jury award for best ensemble and the audience award.

The film, which stars Mahershala Ali and Skyfall actress Naomie Harris, chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough Miami neighbourhood.

Moonlight director Barry Jenkins (Evan Agostini/AP)
Moonlight director Barry Jenkins (Evan Agostini/AP)

Isabelle Huppert picked up the best actress award for her performance as a sexual assault survivor in Elle, beating Natalie Portman and Annette Bening to the gong.

Casey Affleck was named best actor for playing a lonely caretaker in Manchester by the Sea, a film written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan.

Amy Adams, Ethan Hawke, director Oliver Stone and producer Arnon Milchan were each honoured with industry tribute awards.

The ceremony in New York City was hosted by comedian Keegan-Michael Key and contained a number of references to US president-elect Donald Trump.

"Our voices need to be heard now more than ever," Keegan-Michael said.