Suffragette Star Carey Mulligan Delivers an Empowering Speech on Women’s Rights and Equality

Carey Mulligan at HFAs
Photo: Lester Cohen/WireImage

Carey Mulligan is using her platform as a bonafide celebrity for a good cause. Last night inside the 19th Annual Hollywood Film Awards, the former Great Gatsby star was honored with the Hollywood Actress Award for her role as Maud Watts in Suffragette. Dressed in a shimmery Erdem dress with a cross-patterned neckline, the actress graciously accepted her award after her IRL pal Jake Gyllenhaal presented her with the accolade.

“I have the distinct honor of calling Carey Mulligan my friend. Like, she’s actually my friend. Real friend. I met Carey on [Who We Call] Brothers just before the release of An Education,” he told guests. “The roles she takes on and the performances she gives are outside the paradigm of the classic English rose. They were ferocious and surprising, unnerving and charming, equally unsettling as they are life affirming.”

Mulligan went on to thank Gyllenhaal for his kind words and while the two shared an adorable and uncommon Hollywood moment, it was her words that resonated well into the evening. “I’m so unabashedly proud of this film. I’ve worked on a lot of films, and it’s something about this film that has taken the top spot for me. I learned so much making it. Least of which is Switzerland just gave women the right to vote in 1971. I learned about the real and brutal struggle about those who went before us. It also jolted me and reminded me to look with new eyes at women’s issues across the world,” she said.

The beauty went on to address the fact that it’s rare for a film’s writer, director, and producer to all be women, and explained why Suffragette is the perfect example of female empowerment. “There’s something really wrong about that. It shouldn’t be that we’re an anomaly,” she said. “It shouldn’t be unique. If there’s ever a room to say that in front of I think that’s here in front of all you. Let’s make this normal, that it isn’t a unique experience. Let’s support more female writers, producers, directors… Let’s give equal focus to female-driven material, let’s give great roles to women and men. Let’s create a gender equality in our industry. As one very well known Suffragette said, ‘Let him who has the courage to prevent us try to do it.’”

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—With reporting by Brandi Fowler

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