"Silver Linings Playbook" won the best film prize at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, as well as best actress for Jennifer Lawrence and best director.
On the eve of the Oscars, director David O. Russell received a publicity boost for his dark romantic comedy, which stars Bradley Cooper as recovering bipolar ex-teacher Pat who falls for Lawrence's mixed-up Tiffany.
Austrian Michael Haneke's Cannes Palme d'Or-winning "Amour" took the best foreign film prize.
Best actor at the Spirits, traditionally held on the eve of the Academy Awards, went to John Hawkes for playing a man paralyzed from the neck down who hires a sex surrogate to help him lose his virginity in "The Sessions."
Russell stressed the health issues behind "Silver Linings Playbook," saying: "I just want to say on behalf of any family that ever faced mood disorder or the stigma of mood disorder, any mental illness: this film is for you.
"I think when you make a film from the heart, there's no such thing as genre, there are just real people," he told reporters at the awards show in Santa Monica, west of Los Angeles.
Lawrence, star of blockbuster "Hunger Games," said: "I love doing independent films. The only thing that's keeping you there is not money, it's just the belief in the story and passion."
Haneke, whose film swept the board at the Cesars, the French equivalent of the Oscars, on Friday, said the Spirit award "was given by a younger audience and that's an important thing for a movie that deals with such a serious theme."
The 85th Academy Awards are held Sunday in Hollywood. "Silver Linings Playbook" is among nine films nominated for best picture, although the frontrunners are Iran hostage thriller "Argo" and presidential drama "Lincoln."