Ben Affleck's rise from zero to Hollywood hero was crowned when his drama Argo was named best film at the 85th Academy Awards.
It was an emotional night for the actor, producer and director who won an Oscar for Good Will Hunting in 1997 only to see his career take a nosedive with appearances in the critically derided Pearl Harbor and Gigli.
However, Argo - which he directed and starred in - saw his standing soar when it was named Best Picture as well as picking up an Oscar for best adapted screenplay.
In a moving acceptance speech, Affleck said: "I was here 15 years ago or something and I had no idea what I was doing, stood in front of you all. I was just a kid, and I went out, and I never thought I'd be back here and I am, because of so many of you who are here tonight.
Because of so many wonderful people who extended themselves to me when they had nothing to benefit from it in Hollywood, I couldn't get them a job… you can't hold grudges… it's hard, but you can't hold grudges. It doesn't matter how you get knocked down in life, cos that's what happens… all that matters is you gotta get back up."
Elswhere, Daniel Day-Lewis became the first star to land the best actor award three times when he picked up the Academy Award for Lincoln. He'd previously won in 1990 for My Left Foot and again in 2008 for There Will Be Blood.
Austrian actor Christoph Waltz received his second best supporting actor Oscar - beating off the challenge of Lincoln's Tommy Lee Jones - for the role of Dr King Schultz in the Quentin Tarantino western Django Unchained.
Waltz, who previously won for Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, paid tribute to the director in his acceptance speech, quoting lines from Shultz.
"You scaled the mountain because you are not afraid, you slayed the dragon because you are not afraid and you came through the fire because it's worth it..."
Anne Hathaway predictably walked away with the best supporting actress Oscar for Les Miserables, commenting: "Here's hoping that some day, in the not-too-distant future, the misfortunes of [her destitute character] Fantine will only be found in stories and not in real life."
Pixar's Brave - the story of a feisty Scottish princess fighting a witch's spell - won the award for best animated feature at the expense of British Aardman hope The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists.
Ang Lee's Life of Pi, the visually stunning adaptation of Yann Martel's "unfilmable" fantasy novel, won the cinematography award for Chile's Claudio Miranda as well as best visual effects and Mychael Danna's music score.
However, Adele and Paul Epworth flew the flag for Blighty when they picked up the Oscar for best original song for Skyfall and Brits also scored in the craft categories with Jacqueline Durran winning best costume design for Anna Karenina and Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell picking up the best hair and makeup gong for Les Miserables.
Tom Hooper's adaptation of the stage sensation also took the award for best sound mixing for Brits Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes.
In only the third tie in Oscar history for any award, Skyfall also shared the spoils for best sound editing with the Kathryn Bigelow thriller Zero Dark Thirty, the first time a Bond film has won since Thunderball in 1966 for visual effects.
Austrian director Michael Haneke picked up the Oscar for best foreign film for his harrowing drama Amour, starring Jean-Louis Trintignant and best actress nominee Emmanuelle Riva. "Without them I would not be here," he said.
The British-produced Searching For Sugar Man, which told the incredible story of American musician Rodriguez, won the Academy Award for best documentary.
Producer Simon Chinn said: "Rodriguez isn't here tonight because he didn't want to take any of the credit himself...and that says just about everything about that man."
Disney made it a clean sweep on the animation front as director John Kahr's The Paperman, which blended traditional and computer animation, took the award for best animated short.