British actors have been finding work in Hollywood since talking pictures created the need for pristine elocution. Many put down stakes and never return to work in the UK. Not so with Emma Thompson, who was recently honored with the Richard Harris Award, named after the Irish actor who appeared in Unforgiven and Gladiator. The British Independent Film Awards presents the honor each year to a performer who has made an outstanding contribution to British cinema.

Although Thompson has starred opposite Will Smith and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Hollywood, she has also written and acted in British-based productions such as Sense and Sensibility and Nanny McPhee.

“Some of my films have been independent, but I have to confess I have been ‘with’ studios. I have also taken small roles in large studio films that could be described as formulaic for money,” the actress joked during her acceptance speech. Jared Harris, the son of the award’s namesake, praised Thompson’s “determination not to let anyone else’s lack of imagination restrict her opportunities. And if those opportunities didn’t exist, she created them for herself.”

The Love Punch, starring Thompson, is currently in theaters in Japan.