The Empire Awards 2003 The Empire Awards 2003

Lifetime Achievement Award:
Dustin Hoffman

Benicio Del Toro:
"The winner of this year's Lifetime Achievement Award is a genuine trailblazer. In a career spanning 35 years, he re-invented the idea of the leading man, eschewing the notion that a character actor could also be a megastar. His body of work represents a masterclass of modern screen acting. His role as Benjamin Braddock defined a generation. In Midnight Cowboy he created a street hustler, Ratso Rizzo, the ultimate outsider. While in Kramer vs Kramer, he essayed a modern day everyman battling for custody of his child. As Hollywood has changed around him, his commitment to challenging work has remained the same, in Rain Man nailing the character of an autistic savant with skill and integrity. In All The President's Men and Lenny, he turned real-life characters into compelling drama. In Tootsie, he rooted buoyant comedy from reality. A two-time Oscar winner, an Emmy award-winning TV producer, he's set the standard we're all chasing. So there's two favourites of his film that I really like which have been stuck in my head since childhood, Degas in Papillon and Mumbles in Dick Tracy. So let's see the video."

Dustin Hoffman:
It's too heavy. You guys have created an evening. I turned to my friend Brad Silberling who's sitting next to me - the director of my film Moonlight Mile - and I said, nobody's ever cast Benicio Del Toro as the essence of what he is, which is a very introspective, shy guy. So I told him that and huh [Benicio interrupts] Oh, you play that to get girls. It works sometimes. Um, well, I'm the opposite of Steven Spielberg. I'd never heard of Empire magazine. I thought when they said it was the Empire awards, it was the British Empire giving them. I did. So I wrote a speech, I worked on it and then I realised it was a magazine. And it was worth being here for no other reason than seeing Tom Cruise and Johnny Vegas in the same room. I think Johnny Vegas is a bit of a genius. [applause] Some of the things he was saying. I think there's a bit of Brendan Behan, and Dylan Thomas. Where is he? Sir, there's a bit of Brendan Behan and Dylan Thomas coursing through your veins and God bless you. The Donald Trump blow job joke. I don't remember Michael and his friend but I remember the joke. I think it's a good joke. And if I ever get to heaven one of the first things I'll say to God is "Can I meet some of the people who have invented the jokes which are my favourite?" And I felt this joke was really emblematic of the suits that are part of our business and certainly the suits that are trying to get us into a war.

Donald Trump is in an elevator. No, no, no. There's a very attractive woman in an elevator. She's by herself and it's going up or going down and a door opens. And Donald Trump gets in. And she goes, "Oh my god, you're Donald Trump!" And he goes yes. "I've got every book you've ever written, I've got your pictures all over my walls. I think you're the most charismatic, sexiest, most imaginative man that exists on this planet. I know I'll never get the chance again - you and me like this in an elevator. Could I go down on you right now? And Donald Trump looks at her and says, "Well, what's in it for me?" [laughter and applause]

To hear Dustin Hoffman's full, half-hour (no, we're not kidding) acceptance speech, click the audio file below. Highlights include a somewhat disconcerting double-act with Johnny Vegas, a shameful amount of Hugh Grant-bashing, dragging all the other winners onto the stage and another joke from the Hoffman repertoire.

Listen to the full acceptance speech.
(Or try this Lower Quality File)

Click here to find out who has won previous Empire Awards.

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