The Sony Ericsson Empire Awards 2008

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The Minute-By-Minute Blog

18.02: Bugger the BAFTAs. So over the Oscars. This is the one we've been waiting forit's the Sony Ericsson Empire Awards 2008!!! The assembled stars are currently being jostled into their seats so that the show can begin. While we wait, a few observations: Ewan McGregor has VERY white shoes on, but can carry it off. Matt Damon's wife is delightful. All the St Trinian's girls are sinfully gorgeous in the flesh. Women become insensible in the presence of Ben Barnes, the soon to be Caspian. My editor saying I'm not allowed to drink while blogging is just mean and I plan to disobey this rule before the night is over.

18.04: James McAvoy just wandered past the distinctly unglamorous location from whence I am blogging (apparently a table would be too luxurious for this poor writer, who had to beg for a chair and make do with his lap as a desk). I think he may be lostfortunately, like the hymn says, he now is found and is chatting to Ewan McGregor. This much Scottishness in such a small space is potentially lethal.

18.05: Several Empire staff members are now drinking next to me. I may draw blood and be on the news tomorrow.

18.12: Ooh, it's starting. Rob Brydon, our host, is met with applause that no Welshman but Tom Jones has ever enjoyed. His first gag about Sienna Miller fell a little flat, but he won them back straight away.

18.14: Matt Damon is talking during the show and may have to be issued a stern talking to.

18.15: I'm not sure I like Brydon calling the Empire awards the 'Empties'. These are serious, you know. I expect winners to cry.

18.19: We'll begin with a highlight reel of films from the last 12 months. I'll not list them all, because I only have the regular number of fingers and can't keep up. But if it's big, it's in there. No Norbit.

18.21: First award is for Best Comedy. I totally know who's won, but I'm going to act surprised anyway. Presenting are half of The League of Gentlemen, Mark Gatiss and Reese Shearsmith. Steve Pemberton is presumably still stuck in Tubb's fat suit somewhere. They're doing a proper little skit on the nominees, with Gatiss pretending to be a sycophantic American. They clearly thought about this, which is to their credit. HOT FUZZ WINS! Edgar Wright has lost a lot of weight. Wright thanks the readers for "clicking their mouses or meese". Simon Pegg shills for Run Fat Boy Run. Nick Frost doesn't speak because he's working very hard at growing some MASSIVE sideburns. That takes a lot of energy.

18.27: Best Actor next. Matt Damon is making a face as his Bourne clip comes up. I think he did well. Be proud Matt, you're really very good at this acting lark. Big applause when James McAvoy's name comes up. Gemma Arterton is presenting and just got wolf whistled. I'd say it was for good reason, but that would be sexist. McAvoy wins. Couldn't happen to a nicer man. Screw you Oscar voters. There was a very definite intake of breath from the Universal table when he suggested Atonement didn't make money (I think it did). He's advised Empire to "keep telling people to see good stuff and keep saying bad stuff is shit, because it is". We'll try, James, we'll try. Norbit is shit. There you go.

18.33: I'll be honest, I'm not getting the Anthony Hopkins in Fracture gag. This may be due to a lack of actually seeing Fracture.

18.35: I'm watching Paul Greengrass to see if he throws anything when the winner of Best Thriller is announced (because I know who wins that too). American Gangster has won. Greengrass remains composed. Really, I was hoping at least a salt shaker would fly. Chiwetel Ejiofor collects, wearing a suit that I'd very much like to have. He's rich, he can spare it.

18.38: Three Gone in 60 Seconds entries, from the competition where website users were asked to make a Hollywood film in a minute, are getting their time in the sun. Alien is easily the most popular. Makers of the Alien short, Matt Damon just laughed at your film. How chuffed are you?

18.40: Next up is Icon for Ewan McGregor. Presenting is Jim Broadbent. "I bet this is better than the Olivier Awards [which are going on elsewhere in the Grosvenor, where we are]," he says. You're damn skippy, Jim. And our average guest age is about 463 years younger.

18.41: The Lust For Life bit from Trainspotting will never get old. A whole McGregor reel and no nudity. That's because we're a classy operation, readers. I can't understand anything Irvine Welsh says, but I'm sure his message was nice. Hey, Woody Allen!

18.45: Obviously, the winner is Ewan McGregor - otherwise the clip reel would be an odd decision. He starts with a round of applause for Chiwetel Ejiofor's beard. It did do some wonderful work. So full and committed. He reels off a great story about Jim Broadbent (you'll have to watch on ITV2 for the whole thing), but it contains the word cunt. The idea that Jim Broadbent uses that word leaves me shell-shocked.

18.47: Best British Film is presented by Emma Watson. And, yes, she's still far too young for most of you, so stop those thoughts, grubby man. She is wearing shoes so high that I think she's in danger of airplanes crashing into her head. How quickly they grow up. Atonement bags the prize. Tim Bevan collects because Joe Wright is rather selfishly making a film in LA with Robert Downey Jr and Jamie Foxx. Dreadfully rude. Seriously, a much deserved award. Wright's work on that film was incredible.

18.50: No, I'm not looking at Emma Watson. Shut up.

18.51: More Done In 60 Seconds entries. The Seventh Seal one wins this round, but they love Close Encounters too (that's my favourite one).

18.52: Best Newcomer now for, as Rob Brydon puts it, "someone who's just come or is just about to come". Think on that pleasant image as I tell you Sam Riley takes the prize for his brilliant work in Control. He can't have just come, because he's a man and still awake. I think Riley just got an actual ovation. He wishes everyone a good evening and they said good evening back. It's like school assembly, but with much cooler teachers. He's nervous, bless 'im. I think several of our older ladies in the audience want to mother him.

18.57: Best Horror is presented by Ben Barnes who, as the drooling women around me can attest, is in no way horrific. I think he's what you call dreamy. Not McDreamy - that's trademarked. 28 Weeks Later wins the prize and the director (whose name I'm almost certainly about to spell wrong) Juan Carlos Fresnadillo collects. I like how he pronounces Empire as 'Em-PIE-yah'. We may have to change its spelling on the cover so that everybody says it like that.

19.01: Next we have the Empire Inspiration Award, for general quite huge awesomeness. Harry Potter producer David Heyman and Alfonso Cuaron present to Guillermo Del Toro. I think we might be here a while for his speech; the guy likes to talk. Fortunately, he's very good at it.

19.03: Guillermo Del Toro once taught Cuaron to burn farts. Which is how you tell them apart from George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

19.04: Del Toro denies the burning farts rumour. I fail to believe. Guillermo says he was under the impression he was winning a perspiration award. My fingers can't keep up with how fast he speaks, but he's a great speech giver. He dedicates his award to his wife and This Is England, "which fucking rocked". Yes, it did.

19.07: More Done In 60 Seconds. The Dambusters got actual applause.

19.08: Emma Watson just looked a little starstruck when she squeezed past Matt Damon. No, I wasn't watching her.

19.10: Best Actress now, presented by James Corden of Gavin and Stacey and History Boys Fame. His is probably the best intro of the night. He unfortunately can't present the award to the winner Keira Knightley because she can't be here because Corden's "been shagging her so hard for the last week and she's exhausted". LOVE James Corden. Love him lots.

19.13: Brydon's now singing. I missed the explanation before, so I'm currently both impressed by his vocal talents and slightly bemused, but amused.

19.14: Simon Pegg just whistled at Sony Ericsson Best Soundtrack presenter Bernard Sumner from Joy Division. Either he's a big fan or fancies him.

19.16: The prize goes to Control. Somewhere in the room, Atonement Composer Dario Maranelli is kicking off big time. He's probably going for Sam Riley's eyes with his baton. I think everyone from Control is currently on the stage. It's a festival of skinny suits. Director Anton Corbijn has to do the splits to reach the low mic. He's approximately 18ft tall. The only thing in the room that's taller is Emma Watson's shoes.

19.17: He's still got his legs stretched quite a lot, for his lengthy but delightful speech. Can we get sued if this leads to any kind of lasting genital damage?

19.20: It's the winner of the Done In 60 Seconds competition. Titanic takes it and goes down very well in the room. Rob Brydon is introducing himself as presenter. It's like that Gollum scene, but with less raggy loincloths.

19.22: I swear to blog, I thought one of the Titanic makers was James Dyer. They're twins. The two directors did very well for their first speech. Please thank us when you win an Oscar.

19.24: Best Sci-Fi or Fantasy (apparently these two go together - I don't make the rules) is presented by the lovely Haley Atwell, your bona fide next big thing. The prize goes to Stardust, which I saw only recently and really liked. But you probably don't care about that. Writer/director Matthew Vaughn and writer Jane Goldman collect. I'd like to say a big thanks to Goldman for dying her hair to match the colour of our logo. That's commitment.

19.28: Brydon's joke about Steven Seagal's fluffer just made me sick a bit in my mouth.

19.30: Hey, ex-Empirette, current Heat-ette and all round goddess Stephanie Seelan has just bought me a mojito. This is why you should all love her, despite her debilitating back fat.

19.31: Someone just shouted "sexy" at Best Director presenter David Morissey. I think it was Jim Broadbent (it wasn't). The rest of the Bourne Ultimatum table just made loser signs at Paul Greengrass when Harry Potter's David Yates won the prize. I should point out that the people on this table include his wife.

19.32: Matt Damon's doing big high claps for Paddy Considine as he takes the stage to present for Outstanding Contribution. Shane Meadows has just twigged that this award is for him. He's shrinking in his chair. It's a terrific intro and I think I see some damp eyes.

19.35: You might have tucked your shirt in, Shane. Meadows receives the award with the words, "I'm sure people have given me this early because of likely heart attack". Not true, Shane, it's because you're brilliant. Given that this man had no idea he was winning an award, his speech is fantastic [read it all in the speeches section]. Apparently he only got into making films because he fancied some girls on a course. Which is also why Stephen Hawking went into science. True story*. Love Shane Meadows.

19.40: It's the final award - see, you can keep this things under two hours easy, Oscars. Bourne Ultimatum gets a lot of whoopage in the room when Best Film nominees are announced (it's possible I also whooped). Thankfully, Jason Isaacs - who everyone on the Empire staff loves unreservedly [Kat Brown would like me to point out that he called both she and our Office Manager Emily Empire babes, which they are] - gives it to Bourne. His moustache is for work, he'd like you to know. "And it's not for the long-awaited Village People biopic". Things like this are why we love Isaacs. Some would like to lick his face.

19.44: Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass, who have flown in from the Morocco set of Green Zone just to be here, are very humble in their acceptance. Apparently Damon spent a lot of his time in his trailer while shooting Ultimatum because "he was fucking Jimmy Kimmel's wife" (Oh, you've seen the video). Matt Damon's sympathy-hogging insistence that he never gets nominated for awards draws a lot of "aaaaaaaahs" from the audience. Saving the best speech for the end of the show. Couldn't have ended better.

19.46: Well, that's it folks. Remember to watch the show on ITV2 on Monday at 9pm. You can read the speeches in full by clicking on the relevant bit on the menu, which I can't currently see as it's not been made yet, because I'm too ham fisted to have typed them all out properly. It's been a great night. I'm off to grab anything alcoholic I can lay my hands on and try and make Dexter Fletcher be my best friend at the after-party (he was awesome in Stander, he's in pleasure-that-should-be-guilty-but-I-love-unashamedly Hotel Babylon and he knows Games Master!). Don't wait up. See you next year.

*Not a true story.

Jump To Winners Of...

Best Comedy
Best Actor
Best Thriller
Empire Icon Award
Best British Film
Best Newcomer
Best Horror
Empire Inspiration Award
Best Actress
Sony Ericsson Soundtrack Award
Done In 60 Seconds
Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Best Director
Outstanding Contribution
To British Film
Best Film

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