Mel Gibson and Nicole Kidman each picked up awards, but it was the Oscar-buzzy film Manchester By The Sea which scooped the pool at this year's 6th annual AACTA International Awards.
Manchester by the Sea, which stars Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams and Kyle Chandler, was nominated in six of the seven categories, and won two awards – best screenplay for Kenneth Lonergan and best actor for Casey Affleck.
But it was denied the night's top honour; that went to to La La Land, the musical comedy-drama written and directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.
Stone also won best actress.
Australian actor-director Mel Gibson won best direction for his film, Hacksaw Ridge, while Kidman, was rewarded for her work on the film Lion.
Kidman dedicated her award to her husband, singer Keith Urban, "the most beautiful man I've ever met".
The annual film awards event is a continuation of the AFI Awards, which were first presented in 1958.
Awards are given out to international productions in film, director, screenplay and performance categories.
The timing of the event is intended to place it in the northern "awards" season, which includes the Golden Globe Awards, the US AFI Awards, the Screen Actors Guild and Producers Guild Awards and culminates in the Academy Awards.
The two dominant titles of the night – Manchester by the Sea and La La Land – are both generating major buzz for both the Golden Globes and the Oscars.
Accepting the award for best actress, Stone said it was a joy working on La La Land.
"It was a spectacle every day," she said. "It's a story for dreamers and people who feel like giving up, but hopefully won't."
Stone also thanked Australia for introducing her to fairy bread, the Aussie children's party staple.
"Winning is my second favourite Australian thing," she said.
Australian snacks were something of a recurring theme through the night: Patel thanked Australia for Kidman, actor David Wenham and Tim Tam biscuits.
The guest list included LA-based Australian actors such as Julian McMahon, Alan Dale, Damon Herriman, Simon Baker, Luke Bracey, Ruby Rose and Angus Sampson.
Also in attendance were the night's key nominees Nicole Kidman, Mel Gibson, Dev Patel, Joel Edgerton and Australia's consul-general in Los Angeles, Chelsey Martin.
The winner of this year's AACTA Trailblazer Award, actress Isla Fisher, was a presenter.
The event was hosted by actor Daniel MacPherson and held at LA's historic Avalon Nightclub.
Opened in 1927, the venue has had several names – notably the Hollywood Playhouse and, later, the original El Capitan Theatre – and has been the venue for concerts by Liberace and The Supremes.
Only one winner was absent: actor Casey Affleck, who was, according to Kenneth Lonergan, on a camping trip with his son.
Full List of Winners
Best Film: La La Land
Best Direction: Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Best Screenplay: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Best Lead Actor: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Best Lead Actress: Emma Stone, La La Land
Best Supporting Actor: Dev Patel, Lion
Best Supporting Actress: Nicole Kidman, Lion