British star Carey Mulligan was among the winners at the 19th annual Hollywood Film Awards for her central role as Maud in the new movie Suffragette, a laundry worker who joins the fight for the right for women to vote.

The 30 year old star, who gave birth to her first child with husband Marcus Mumford just a few months ago, won Best Actress at the 2015 edition of the gongs, which are the first major ceremony in a long run of black-tie events leading up to the Academy Awards on February 28th.

The Hollywood Film Awards winners are announced in advance and are not televised, but prominently features movies not on general release and are a reasonable indicator of what will be on offer during awards season.

Carey MulliganCarey Mulligan at the Hollywood Film Awards 2015

Will Smith won Best Actor for his portrayal of an American doctor who discovered brain trauma in an American football player in Concussion, a movie not released until Christmas Day in the States, while Robert De Niro won a Career Achievement award at the red carpet evening at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

More: ‘Suffragette’ premiere disrupted by feminist protestors

British director Tom Hooper, whose previous work includes the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech, won the Director Award for the upcoming The Danish Girl, starring Eddie Redmayne as transgender pioneer Lili Elbe. The same movie was also responsible for the Best Supporting Actress trophy, going to Redmayne’s co-star Alicia Vikander.

The Swedish actress told the Press Association about the ceremony: “I thought it was an experience I could tell my grandkids about, that I went to this Hollywood awards thing and saw all these people I looked up to and admired. I never thought I would work with some of the directors and actors that I met here and to be back is extraordinary.”

Amy Schumer went home with the Comedy Award for Trainwreck; Asif Kapadia’s harrowing analysis of the Amy Winehouse story in Amy won Best Documentary; while Black Mass’s Joel Edgerton and Brooklyn’s Saoirse Ronan won the Best Breakout Actor and Actress gongs respectively.

More: Carey Mulligan confirms she’s given birth to a baby girl, named Evelyn