Amanda Seyfried, Kerry Washington, Amy Adams Vie for Best Dressed at Hollywood Film Awards (Poll)

Washington Seyfried Adams Hollywood Film Awards - H 2012
Getty Images

Washington Seyfried Adams Hollywood Film Awards - H 2012

The Hollywood Film Festival Awards are the first stop on the road to a Golden Globe or an Oscar, so actresses sport big-name gowns to get designers' attention.

The Hollywood Film Awards are considered by many to be the first event of the 2013 awards season. And Monday night's ceremony, held at the Beverly Hills Hotel, was no exception, with a constellation of A-list starlets showing up in a stunning array of equally A-list designer creations. 

This is the time of year when actresses -- especially the newbies -- will compete with bigger names and potential nominees for mentions on best-dressed lists. And perception is reality in Hollywood, as in fashion. If you are seen in a hot designer's gown, the conventional wisdom goes, you must be worthy of being a brand ambassador, and more dresses will come your way.

Before you know it, there may be offers for a designer scent, or handbag endorsement deal hitting your agent's email inbox.

As one industry insider who works both with young actresses and design houses to arrange brand ambassadorships, explains, "Every carpet outfit is held up to the light and a history of the actresses' carpet track records are being kept by the big houses."  Scary thought. But that's the way it works. "One bad dress and you're out. The pressure is intense," says a stylist to big and smaller name celebrities.

PHOTOS: Top Ten: Best Dressed At The Hollywood Film Awards

All this in mind, we noted several actresses in tres chic red carpet attire last night. The Dark Knight Rises star Marion Cotillard appeared in a sleek blue and black Dior couture gown from Raf Simons' new collection. She's a brand ambassador for the house and as such, she is the only actresses who has worn Simon's new looks. She  wore the first one to the London premiere of Dark Knight Rises. Meanwhile, fresh-faced newcomer Bella Heathcote appeared last night in a sparkly pink Gucci dress, hinting at a possible budding "relationship" with the house.

VIDEO: 'Django Unchained':  Leo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx Face Off in New Trailer

Other actresses actually starring in Oscar-consideration films were also dressed to kill. Amanda Seyfried, star of the upcoming musical Les Miserables, wore a bright red satin Prabal Gurung frock with a lingerie-inspired corseted bodice, and she accessorized with Jimmy Choo shoes, a Judith Leiber purse and Dana Rebecca earrings.

Django Unchained and Scandal star Kerry Washington chose a lovely black and white abstract print strapless dress by Monique Lhuillier and accessorized with a Louis Vuitton clutch and heels. Her earrings are by Borgioni. Both these designers are red carpet favorites and it's interesting to see these names on Washington and Seyfried on a kick-off awards season carpet.

 EXCLUSIVE: Lee Daniels In Talks To Direct Amy Adams in Janis Joplin Biopic

Trouble with the Curve star Amy Adams picked up the Supporting Actress honor at the Hollywood Film Awards last night. The triple Oscar nominee (and Golden Globe winner for Junebug) looked particularly fetching in Tiffany jewels and a sleek black cap-sleeved, sheer bodiced Oscar de la Renta dress.  She already has a years-long "relationship" la Renta.

So watch the carpets from now unti the Oscars very carefully and see if you can spot the longstanding and the newly emerging designer/actress alignments. 

In the meantime,  tell us: Which actress deserves the first best dressed award of the season: Amy, Amanda or Kerry?