Chadwick Boseman’s widow fought back tears as she paid a moving tribute to the late actor during an awards ceremony for independent film.

Black Panther star Boseman, who died in August at the age of 43 following a battle with colon cancer, was honoured at the Gotham Awards for his portrayal of an ambitious trumpeter in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, his final role.

The Chloe Zhao-directed Nomadland was named best feature, solidifying its position as an Oscars front-runner.

Accepting the Gotham Awards’ actor tribute to Boseman, his wife, Simone Ledward Boseman, described him as “the most honest person I’ve ever met”.

She said: “He didn’t just stop at speaking the truth, he actively searched for it in himself, in those around him and in the moment.

“The truth can be a very easy thing for the self to avoid but if one does not live in truth, then it’s impossible to live in line with a divine purpose for your life.

“And so it became how he lived his life, day in, day out, imperfect but determined. In doing so he was able to give himself over fully to every moment, to be totally present in his own life and in the lives of the people he became.

“He was blessed to live many lives within his concentrated one.”

Simone said it was an honour to receive the award on her husband’s behalf, describing it as “an acknowledgement not only of his profound work but of his impact on this industry and this world”.

She added: “Chad, thank you. I love you, I am so proud of you. Keep shining your light on us.”

The Gotham Awards, hosted by the Independent Filmmakers Project (IFP), are seen as a reliable indicator of Oscars success.

While the awards usually take place with a glitzy ceremony in New York City, the 30th running of the annual show deployed a combination of live and virtual elements.

As well as the night’s top prize Nomadland, which stars Frances McDormand as a middle-aged woman travelling through the American West, also won the audience award.

British star Riz Ahmed won best actor for his role in The Sound Of Metal while best actress went to Nicole Beharie for Miss Juneteenth.

British star Kingsley Ben-Adir won breakthrough actor for his portrayal of Malcolm X in One Night In Miami and accepted the prize from a hotel in London.

Best documentary was won by two films –  Time and A Thousand Cuts while best screenplay also had dual winners in The 40-year-Old Version and Fourteen.

In the TV categories, Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You was named breakthrough series (short format) while the long format category was won by Watchmen.

Prolific TV producer Ryan Murphy, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom actress Viola Davis and British filmmaker Sir Steve McQueen were also honoured.

Identifying Features, a Mexican/Spanish production, was named best international feature, a category which contained Netflix’s controversial film Cuties.

The Bingham Ray breakthrough director award was won by Andrew Patterson for The Vast Of Night.