The live blog begins at 4pm on Sunday 30 March.
Only a matter of minutes before the red carpet leg of the Jameson Empire Awards is off and running. Sorry, walking. We discourage people from running down it. School corridor rules.
Thanks for joining us! The great and good and slightly hungover of the world of film and television are en route. Stay tuned.
For those who like to keep across red carpet conditions, it's a not-unpleasant 11 degrees out there, with a light breeze and virtually no chance of heavy snow and/or bear attack. That may disappoint any representatives of The Revenant, but is probably good news for everyone else.
In just a few short minutes Chris Hewitt, Finsbury Park’s answer to Ryan Seacrest, will be finding out "who" people are wearing, gleaning their thoughts on last week’s budget and probing them on the meaning of life itself. Or failing that, just finding out if they're looking forward to Captain America: Civil War.
Head to @empiremagazine on Twitter for all of that. There’ll be more Periscoping than a live-action version of Das Boot as the stars arrive and we grill them.
Not literally. That would be weird.
Don’t forget to follow the event on Instagram (also, @empiremagazine) where all the evening’s most glorious snaps will be found. Including this one of the red carpet RIGHT FLIPPIN' NOW. Technology, eh?
Meanwhile, in the Periscope live interview zone... OMG IT'S A WILDING, RUN!! Oh, no. It's only Game Of Thrones' Hannah Murray having a chat with our man Chris Hewitt.
Head here for more where that came from.
It isn't just awards, awards, awards this evening. We will also be allowing people to sit down and, at strategic moments, actually eat food. Well, it seemed to work last year.
The first of Star Wars: The Force Awakens posse has arrived! It's Anthony 'C-3P0' Daniels. He's programmed for etiquette and protocol, so expect him to chat to absolutely everyone on the red carpet.
Ladies, gentlemen and cybernetic organisms at a loose end on a Sunday evening, welcome to the Jameson Empire Awards! Well, this isn’t it – this is just the blog about it – but you’re definitely in the right place for all the news, winners and scuttlebutt from the movie awards they’re already calling “67 per cent shorter than the Oscars”.
We’re delighted to have your company, not least because you voted for all the winners and without you this would just be a lot of people in fancy suits eating dinner. So pour yourself of cup of something delicious and settle in. Oh, and don’t forget to keep abreast of the live interviews taking place before the ceremony proper gets underway.
As the Grosvenor House Great Room fills up, here's a few interesting facts to chew over: the first Empire Awards took place in 1996 with Bravehart winning Best Film, Best Actress going to Nicole Kidman for To Die For, Nigel Hawthorne winning Best Actor for The Madness Of King George and Best Director going to a young filmmaker named Danny Boyle for Shallow Grave. Wonder whatever happened to him?
The Empire Awards have never, touch wood, been interrupted by war, and no-one has ever been played off stage for going on too long in their acceptance speech. Then again, Matthew McConaughey has yet to win anything.
The assembled luminaries head to their tables to the sounds of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky but who – WAIT FOR IT – will be getting lucky tonight? And yes, we’re talking about winning awards here. Honestly. Wash your minds out.
Not everyone is heading down yet. Paddy Considine is over on 'Scope talking about his movie inspirations. He's two weeks into filming his second feature, Journeyman, so we're jolly happy to have him here.
In the room so far this evening we’ve spotted Andy Serkis – in person, not performance-captured – and his Star Wars: The Force Awakens co-stars, Anthony Daniels and Daisy Ridley, as well as the man behind the man behind Britain’s single worst diet plan, Peter Serafinowicz. Hoisin crispy owl is not on tonight’s menu, although we can probably stretch to some During Dinner Mints.
Is a Game Of Thrones/Force Awakens flare-up in the offing? Nope. Just a nice chat.
The final countdown begins...
And then, like clockwork it began. A kickass montage gets things under way with the year's biggest and best movies all featuring strongly... Inside Out, The Danish Girl, The Martian, Ex Machina, Mad Max, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Well, no so much the last one.
Empire's own editor-in-chief, Terri White, takes to the stage to say a few thank-yous, not least to the filmmakers who make us all very happy by, well, making films.
Our host tonight is the inestimable David Walliams. Expect the performing canine in the room – Pudsey The Dog: The Movie – to be tackled in his monologue. Will it be as edgy as Chris Rock’s at the Oscars, as salty as Ricky Gervais’ Golden Globes material or as tuneful as James Nesbitt’s opening last year? We’re about to find out. Here comes the man… to John Williams' Star Wars theme.
"There's a lot of big stars in the room tonight, as well as some surprisingly anonymous faces," he opens. "You must be competition winners."
Yes, it's Pudsey time. "A groundbreaking movie that was cruelly snubbed at the Oscars," he deadpans. "Must be a diversity thing. I am a quarter Welsh." Apparently Pudsey The Movie did make money on DVD. Walliams' says he mum bought a copy from the garage. Mrs Walliams, if you're reading, that's £11.99 you're never getting back.
Running through the big movers and shakers in the Best Acting category, there's props from Walliams for Vin Diesel - "or as he's known in France, Wine Petrol" - and Fast 7, as well as Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl and, yes, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.
First award up is Best Comedy, presented by our pals at Absolute Radio. It sees Ant-Man go head-to-head – sorry, antenna-to-head – with Inside Out, Me And Earl And The Dying Girl, Spy and Trainwreck. Can the Statham-tastic Spy prevail in a field full of comic gems? Katherine Ryan, Canadian comedian, takes to the stage to announce it.
And the answer is… yes! Spy prevails. Rightly so, Stath suffered making it.
Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy’s comic caper is represented on stage by Peter Serafinowicz (yes, we’re still using spellcheck) who accepts on their behalf. "I played an Italian secret agent and I would like to apologise to the entire nation of Italy," he offers. Italy forgives you, Peter. We think.
Best Sci-fi/Fantasy is a shoot-out between the final instalment of The Hunger Games, Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Two of the top four biggest grossing movies of all time appear among that little lot, but needless to say they’d swap all those untold billions for an Empire award and a goodie bag.
But who did the readers vote for? To tell us is Hannah Murray, Game Of Thrones’ wildling Gilly, and Submarine’s Craig Roberts…
… and the name on the card is The Force Awakens! Clambering to the stage to accept is Threepio himself, Anthony Daniels. Which of his six million forms of communication will he deliver the acceptance speech in? It’s English! Phew.
"Normally I'm dressed in a gold suit pretending to be a robot," says Daniels, switching to Threepio voice. "Tonight I'm wearing a silk suit pretending to be a human being." There's warm words for Empire's readers and praise for Kathleen Kennedy and "that bundle of enthusiastic joy" J. J. Abrams.
It’s time to acknowledge the finest in gut-spilling and flesh-munching. Yes, it’s time for Best Horror. Who’s going to win? We haven’t a Scooby but we’ll soon find out. To present are The Darjeeling Limited’s Amara Karan and Ramsay Bolton himself, Game Of Thrones’ Iwan Rheon. If the winner is half as scary as the presenter it’ll be a worthy recipient.
And the winner is… The Hallow! A lovely way to end a tough week for Corin Hardy. We can’t reunite him with The Crow but we can give him a lovely statuette for his mantlepiece, which is surely the next best thing. He’s joined on stage by The Hallow star Joseph Mawle and producer Joe Neurauter. They're very popular winners indeed.
"This is... really? This is unexpected," says a stunned and surprised Hardy. "I've always wanted to make a monster movie. Thank-you so much Empire. This is a lovely thing to happen the day before The Hallow comes out on DVD." Gratuitous plugs are okay with us, Mr. H.
It’s the turn of that array of nerve janglers we like to call the Best Thriller category, sponsored by The Corinthia Hotel. Vying for the big prize are Bridge Of Spies, The Gift, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Sicario and Spectre. Some big guns, there, with Joel Egerton’s debut feature looking like the outsider. Then again, it’s darn good, so who knows?
Announcing the winner is Chanel Cresswell and Richard Rankin from This Is England '90 and Burnt.
And that winner is… Spectre. Hooray, an award to spruce up 007’s incredibly spartan living room! Screenwriters Neil Purvis and Robert Wade, SFX man Chris Corbould and costume designer Jany Temime take to the stage to accept.
Now it’s the turn of the young guns, the stars of tomorrow (or today, in John Boyega’s case) and actors likely to be appearing on Hollywood’s call sheets for year to come. First, Best Male Newcomer. The nominees are Beasts Of No Nation’s impressive Abraham Attah, Room’s Jacob Tremblay, Thomas Mann from Me And Earl And The Dying Girl, Straight Outta Compton’s Jason Mitchell and The Force Awakens’ Boyega.
Who will prevail? The answer is about to be revealed by Laura Carmichael – Downton Abbey’s Lady Edith Crawley – who opens the envelope and… reads… out… the… name… of… JOHN BOYEGA!
"J.J. thanks so much for your support during the seven-month process," Boyega says. "But you know what? I've proved myself now. Don't ever put me through a seven-month process again!"
Next up is Best Female Newcomer, presented by Dad's Army's Daniel Mays. "Very brave of Empire to ask Private Walker to announce Best Female Newcomer," Mays says of his notoriously flirtacious character. He'll be selling black-market silks out back after the event.
The contenders are Olivia Cooke, Rebecca Ferguson, Maika Monroe, Bel Powley and Daisy Ridley. The films they’re nominated for are (respectively) Me And Earl And The Dying Girl, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, It Follows, The Diary Of A Teenage Girl and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but you could equally throw names like The White Queen, The Guest, A Royal Night Out into that mix. A seriously talented bunch.
So who did Empire’s voters plump for? Danny Mays opens the envelope and reads out Daisy Ridley’s name! It’s a Force Awakens one-two in the newcomer category. There has been a newcomer’ing. Have you felt it?
"What an amazing time to be a woman in film," enthuses cinema's newest Ridders, Daisy. She's brought her family and a pal with her tonight. Hello, Ridley family!
Best British Film has gone to some cracking movies down the years. 28 Days Later, Shallow Grave, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Notting Hill, Shaun Of The Dead, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Kick-Ass and Atonement… it’s a pretty glorious list. This year’s winner, presented by The Hollywood Reporter, will be one of 45 Years, Legend, Macbeth, Spectre and Suffragette. A king, a spy, a gangster, a campaigner and Tom Courtenay popping out to the shops. Five cracking films. Who’ll win?
Jonathan Ross opens the envelope… and the winner is Spectre!
Director Sam Mendes thanks the readers of Empire - "including my son" - and acknowledges his guest-editorship of the mag as "a highpoint of this whole process". You're welcome, sir. Now, about that pay rise...
Mendes tells a cracking tale of Skyfall's French costume designer mistaking a group of innocent partygoers for extras in a London Underground scene and demanding they change into their proper costumes. "Would you wear this on the fucking tube?" she railed at the confused black-tie clad group. They promptly changed into parkas.
Last year’s Best Film winner was Interstellar, a film so long it was eligible for the year before as well. This year – as sponsored by Sky Movies - it’ll be one of The Hateful Eight, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Andy Serkis heads to the stage to announce the shortlist and winner, and there’s a few Oscar nominations among that lot.
Will Mad Max be riding eternal to the stage of the Grosvenor House or will The Martian awards the shit out of it?
No! It’s The Revenant. To accept the award via video link is Will Poultner. "Thank-you so, so much for all your support of this film," says Poulter. "I'm sorry I can be there and I'm sorry I'm not Leonardo DiCaprio or Tom Hardy or someone more talented and with better facial hair."
In case you’re wondering, his acceptance speech took six months to film and required him to wrestle an unusually large squirrel. Our budget didn’t stretch to bears.
It’s a golden age for TV, with HBO, Netflix and, to a lesser extent, The Great British Bake Off all raising the bar for small-screen awesomeness. There’s a new award this year to celebrate the best of the best on telly and streaming sites. Presenting this one is Caitlin Moran, a telly star in her own right with Channel 4’s ace Raised By Wolves, and Max ‘Son of Jeremy’ Irons.
"Television," Moran tells us, "is superior to going to the movies in three ways. It's a place where many people get their first break; it's watched by two or three or ten million people, making it a communal event; and you can press pause while you get a snack, go to the loo or have a little fiddle thinking about Tom Hiddleston's bum in The Night Manager." Erm, quite so.
On the shortlist? Marvel’s Daredevil, Fargo, Game Of Thrones, Marvel’s Jessica Jones and This Is England ’90. Expect Jessica Jones fans and Daredevil devotees to batter each other with sticks if one of those two wins.
IT’S THIS IS ENGLAND ’90! Ten years after Shane Meadows’ semi-autobiographical drama dazzled us, Lol, Woody, Combo, Shaun, Milky and co pick up a richly deserved gong for their always uplifting, occasionally devastating portrayal of pals and the passing of time.
To the sound of the night's biggest ovation, Meadows leads his cast to the stage, including 2006 veterans Thomas Turgoose (Shaun), Chanel Cresswell (Kelly) and Jo Hartley (Cynth) and This Is England ’90 newcomer Joe Dempsie (Higgy). "I remember I was here a couple of years ago for Best Newcomer," says a very chuffed Turgoose, "which I didn't get. But we've become like a family over the last ten years."
Meadows returns to the stage for the Empire Inspiration award. It's going to his great mate Paddy Considine. They've been friends since attending the same drama course as teenagers and Meadows remembers how he felt he was capable of being an actor until he met Considine. "When I saw what he was capable of, I realised I wasn't built like that, so I went off on my own journey as a filmmaker."
Before Considine's breakthrough in In America, the pair would make a film every day using a plastic bag full of terrible props. "That was the most special time I've ever had as a filmmaker," eulogises Meadows. "He's made an incredible film in Tyrannosaur and he's currently making a film I believe will be even better." That'll be Journeyman, case you were wondering.
Considine heads to the stage. "I had lots of funny shit I was going to come out with but I'm quite touched," says a visibly touched Considine. "We were a couple of shit-kickers," he says of his early days with Meadows. "We couldn't make friends, let alone films." He has some lovely words to say about Empire. "When I've been good in films they've alwasy mentioned me, and when I've been shit in them they've strategically left me out," he laughs. "I'm very honoured by this award."
It's Best Director time! The winner is J.J. Abrams (The Force Awakens). He's in Los Angeles making up to his family for being away for so long, so his award is picked up by John Boyega, reading a speech that may or may not have been entirely written by Abrams. We're saying the bit where he said "The motion picture academy really fucked up not giving John Boyega an Oscar, didn't they?" probably wasn't.
The Three Colours Trilogy, La Notte, Fitzcarraldo… just a few of the films that have not yet inspired a Done In 60 Seconds entry. This year’s Brit crime thriller (and Best British film nominee) Legend certainly has, though. Marc Barnes is the man who manageed to go fully Kray-Kray in just under a minute by recreating it... with the Chuckle Brothers. "Who brings a custard pie to a rubber chicken fight?" bellows one of the kinda-Chuckles. And we thought you couldn't lift dialogue from the film verbatim.
Now, it's Best Actress! Richard E. Grant - Withnail himself - heads to the stage. "Every day I'm on the Tube someone will shout out 'Scrubbers!' at me, and I've very grateful for it." He's talking about the affection Withnail & I is held in, rather than people shouting "Scrubbers" at him on the Tube. If you see Richard E. Grant, do not shout "Scrubbers" at him.
The nominees are... Emily Blunt for Sicario, Brie Larson for Room, Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl, Jennifer Lawrence for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and Charlize Theron for Mad Max: Fury Road. The eagle-eyed will notice that Academy’s Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress are vying with each other for this one.
Best Supporting Actress prevails! It's Alicia Vikander. She's sent a video message. "To get these votes from you means the world," she enthuses. "Thank-you!"
To present Best Actor, sponsored by Jameson, it's the director of what Walliams calls "the good Bourne films", Paul Greengrass. In fairness to Doug Liman, The Bourne Identity isn't half bad.
Michael B. Jordan may have been overlooked by the Oscars but Empire readers are a canny lot and spotted something highly nominatable in his portrayal of Adonis Johnson in Creed. Matt Damon (The Martian), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Macbeth) and Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road) are the other nominees.
And the winner, says Greengrass, is... "Someone who literally shovelled shit for this part, the wonderful Matt Damon."
"We literally just worked a seven-day week on the new Jason Bourne movie," says Damon. "Hopefully we didn't fuck it up." Damon laughs about The Martian's win in the Musical or Comedy category at the Golden Globes. "Maybe they didn't see it and just liked me and felt bad," he says. "Keep supporting movies! We all have jobs because of you guys." We bloody love Matt Damon.
And now it's time for Empire Legend. In Empire's first ever posthumous award it goes to the late and truly great Alan Rickman. From the stage to Die Hard to Truly, Madly, Deeply to Galaxy Quest to Harry Potter to Dogma to Snow Cake to Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, he was marvellous in everything he played. The heartfelt tribute is led by Empire's own Terri White and Chris Hewitt. The movie montage, fittingly soundtracked by Cinematic Orchestra's To Build A Home, is a magical moment.
Alan Rickman RIP.
And now Empire Hero. Announcing this one is Miranda Richardson. She’s been nominated for two Oscars, worked with Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton and Neil Jordan, famously turned down Fatal Attraction and been an acclaimed force on stage but for us she’ll forever be Queenie, Blackadder’s slightly sociopathic monarch. "It's up to you. Either you can shut up or you can have your head cut off." Ah, glory days.
Previous winners of this one include Jude Law, Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender, Daniel Radcliffe, Simon Pegg and the entire cast of Game Of Thrones.
Who is it? Clue, Richardson and our winner have appeared in one movie together, Muppets Most Wanted, and his name rhymes with 'Manly Stucci'.
WOOOOOO! Pass that Tucch. It's Stanley Tucci.
“I’m very honoured to win this awards,” says the Tucch. “Thank-you, Empire. I’m going to pick up a copy straight after this. Thank-you Jameson, we’ve been friends for years."
And that's your lot for the speeches. Thank-you for your company and stay tuned for the other category winners...
BEST SCREENPLAY is a shoot-out between The Big Short ("Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry”), The Hateful Eight (“Well, I'll be double-dog damned!”), Spotlight (“It’s time!”), Steve Jobs (“Musicians play their instruments. I play the orchestra”), and Trainwreck (“Monogamy. Isn't. Realistic!”).
Adam McKay and Charles Randolph’s screenplay for The Big Short wins.
Competiting for BEST ANIMATED FILM are Inside Out, Minions, Shaun The Sheep, Song Of The Sea and The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya. Pixar wins! Inside Out takes the prize. Expect to see Bing Bong propping up the bar later.
TV and cinema meet in the BEST DOCUMENTARY category, with an Oscar winner represented on the shortlist. Trying to wrestle some silverware from Asif Kapadia’s thorough ace Amy are Going Clear, He Named Me Malala, The Jinx and Making A Murderer. Do they manage it? Nope. Amy wins again.
Returning to the Empire Awards for its first appearance since 2009 is BEST SOUNDTRACK. It’s a powerhouse quintet too. Ennio Morricone’s The Hateful Eight, The Martian by Harry Gregson-Williams, Straight Outta Compton, Junkie XL’s Mad Max: Fury Road soundtrack and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s blistering Sicario score are all up for it. A bone-shaking selection. The winner – DRUM ROLL – is Mad Max: Fury Road.
That one’s for you, Doof Warrior.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN is between Carol (Sandy Powell), Cinderella (Sandy Powell), Crimson Peak (Kate Hawley), Mad Max: Fury Road (Jenny Beavan) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Michael Kaplan).
It’s Fury Road and Beaven, following up her BAFTA and Oscar wins with the big one, an Empire Award. Somewhere out there Alejandro G. Iñárritu will be clapping furiously.
Another newcomer this year is BEST VISUAL EFFECTS. Ant-Man, Jurassic World (wait, those dinosaurs were CG?!), Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens are all in the hat but the winner is…
... Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Another one for Constable Zuvio’s mantlepiece. IF THERE IS SUCH A PERSON.
Tonight’s big sponsor, Jameson Irish Whiskey, is presenting BEST SHORT FILM this year. Up for this are Kung Fury, Pixar’s Lava and Sanjay’s Super Team, the Oscar-winning Stutterer and World Of Tomorrow.
Next is the prize for those talented souls who make movies look good and ensure than no-one gets crushed by falling sets. It’s BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN. Crimson Peak, Mockingjay Part 2, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Our favourite would be The Martian, purely for all the travel involved, but the actual winner is… Mad Max: Fury Road. Props – literally – to George Miller’s production designer Colin Gibson.
We love games at Empire so BEST GAME is a long-overdue addition to the line-up this year. Batman: Arkham Knight, Bloodbourne, Fallout 4, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Who will bring home the virtual bacon?
It’s Rocksteady Studios’s Batman: Arkham Knight.
And doesn’t he looked thrilled about it?
Well, as a perky little pig once said, that's all folks. It's been another Jameson Empire Awards filled with spectacle, cinematic celebration tears (literally, during the Alan Rickman tribute) and laughter. We couldn't have done any of it without you. Thank for coming along for the ride. See you next year!