Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 4.38.57 PMBritish Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw is having a breakthrough year, but her trajectory is still not making waves in the U.S. She started off 2014 with the ambitious film, “Belle” and a few weeks ago, “Beyond the Lights” quietly made it’s debut. But thankfully she can rely on her comrades for encouragement and recognition.

Mbatha-Raw who gave a stirring performance in filmmaker Amma Asante’s “Belle”, a film about a mixed-race girl who discovers after years of living in poverty that she is in fact the illegitimate daughter of a noble man. The story illustrates how she navigates the world of privilege and snobbish mores that dominate the upper-crust English family she has acquired.

Despite wowing critics – “Belle” failed to resonate with audiences Stateside. As we officially enter award season, there has been virtually no mention of the film or Mbatha-Raw’s affecting performance. She has been seemingly unable to captivate in the same manner that Lupita Nyong’o was able to this time last year.

But at the 2014 British Independent Film Award, Mbatha-Raw picked up her first and ever acting award for “Belle”. The actress won Best Actress and lost the Most Promising Newcomer award to Semeena Jabeen who impressed critics with her showing in the film “Catch Me Daddy”.

The ceremony took place in London this past Sunday and was created in 1998 as way to propel and celebrate British independent filmmaking in order to encourage its continuity.

Check out our gallery for more photos from the awards!

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