Ben Affleck was honoured with a special achievement in filmmaking trophy for his movie Argo at the National Board of Review Awards Gala on Tuesday night.
The winners are chosen every year by a group of film enthusiasts, students and film makers, and has long been considered a valid precursor to the Oscar nominations.
Zero Dark Thirty, a film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, picked up the most prizes, with the movie's star Jessica Chastain taking the Best Actress gong.
She took a night off from performing on Broadway to attend the event, and admitted her schedule is tough.
"I am a little tired, but it's not so exhausting when you really love your job," Jessica said.
"To get to do this for a living, already is a fete. And then to be recognised for the work, it still shocks me, I'm still not used to it."