Yes, it's that time of year again! After modest little "warm-up shows" like the Oscars and the Baftas, we reach the inarguable pinnacle of awards season with the Three Empire Awards. This is the 23rd annual edition of the awards bash organised by the world's biggest movie magazine, and as ever, they're the awards voted for by you guys, the General Public. And unlike other awards, we have categories that don't usually get trophy-based recognition – horror, action and comedy. Plus, there are special awards like the Empire Inspiration and Empire Hero awards for true movie heroes.
Coming live from London's Roundhouse, we'll be live-blogging the entire star-studded bash, from beginning to end. Be sure to continually click refresh regularly as we'll update this page with almost terrifying regularity.
And that, as is so often said at these occasions, is that. The guests are now mingling, cheering, congratulating one another, tucking into some more grub, and enjoying more complimentary alcohol, which will flow until the wee hours. Thanks for reading – see the full list of winners and nominees here.
Finally, there's just time to talk about the awards not presented live on the night: Best Screenplay goes to Deadpool; Best Animated Film goes to Pixar's Finding Dory; Best Soundtrack goes to La La Land; Best Costume Design goes to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Best Make-Up and Hairstyling goes to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Best Short Film goes to Disney’s Inner Workings; Best Visual Effects goes to Doctor Strange; Best Production Design goes to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; and Best Video Game goes to Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
Ian McKellen – a bona fide legend in his own right – is here to present the final award of the evening, the Empire Legend, to his friend Sir Patrick Stewart. "At last! The evening is beginning to make some sense!" he says, as the entire audience rises for a standing ovation. "Why would you call Patrick a legend? Bless him, he was born in Yorkshire!" This man is on fire. "The range of his work is so gratifying and enviable. I'm trying to be serious here... He's one of my heroes for the way he stands up for his causes. He's the actor that people of my generation would like to be...But don't you love my hair?" Zing!
Finally, Sir Patrick Stewart arrives on stage – to another standing ovation – and enjoys a kiss with his friend Ian McKellen, in an image that will thrill the internet. The actor seems humbled and a little intimidated. "A legend award? Come on Patrick, it doesn't mean to say your career is over! I think it means I'm done!"
In his speech, he quotes German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche: "'Success is an impostor. It conceals the flaw, the wound, the fundamental doubt at the core of the artists' being'. Well, I only quoted that as I wanted to go down as the only actor in history to quote Nietzche. But nevertheless, sometimes, Mr Nietzche, you are right." He also makes sure to thank his "brother and friend, Ian."
Dame Joan Collins – seriously, the real Dame Joan Collins – is here to present Best Film (presented by Sky Cinema), earning a hugely rapturous applause. (We spot Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart leap to their feet in reverence.) And the winner is: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story!
Gareth Edwards is back on stage, and tries a bit of comedy. "Felicity couldn't be here tonight," he says, with Felicity Jones literally standing next to him. "But she sent me a message. I'd like to thank Gareth, who is the best director in the world... See, this is the thing, you never get the chance to come up with any material! We genuinely didn't expect to win!"
Felicity Jones simply says: "I'd just like to say: Dame Joan Collins."
Eddie Redmayne takes Best Actor (presented by Three) for his work in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them! He sends his acceptance speech via video. "Gutted I can't be with you this evening," he says, "particularly as the Empire awards is renowned for being the most debauched evening. If it's not going like that, maybe drink more. I will take this back to Leavesden and it will galvanise use as we move into the second film. I will keep this shiny object away from the Niffler."
Dan Stevens and Amma Asante are here to present Best Actress (presented by Three). Dan Stevens gives the following introduction: "and the award for the best performance without a penis, in heels, paid slightly less than their male counterparts, goes to Felicity Jones!"
"What an introduction!" chuckles the Rogue One star. "Thank you very much for this. Empire have been such a huge magazine in my life for so many years. It means a huge amount to get this."
On the home stretch now... Best Director goes to Rogue One's Gareth Edwards (presented by Vue Entertainment)! "Jesus, I really wasn't expecting this!" he says. "This is not the first time we've infiltrated the Empire and caused an upset. Hahahahaha!" A Star Wars joke is always going to go down well with this sort of crowd. "I feel really bad that I've cancelled my Empire subscription now."
Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie are back on stage to accept the award for Best TV Series (presented by Magic Radio), which goes to the acclaimed BBC miniseries The Night Manager. "Thank you to absent friends," says Tom Hiddleston, namechecking Olivia Colman, "who is never around when she wins awards. Which is very cool."
After a highlights reel edited by the man himself, Luc Besson recieves a standing ovation for the Empire Inspiration Award. "I'm not used to receiving awards," he jokes. "The last one was in '72 at the swimming pool. Why did you have to wait until Brexit to honour a Frenchman?" He tips a hat to some of his favourite English actors: Gary Oldman, David Thewlis, Clive Owen, Sam Sprall, and Cara Delevingne, amongst others. He also thanks Empire: "you know, all the French magaazines hate me, so it's nice to know one magazine likes me!"
Best Sci-Fi Fantasy (presented by Three) is next. Neil Gaiman and Hayley Atwell are presenting. And the winner is: A Monster Calls! Director Juan Antonio Bayona, taking a night off from shooting Jurassic World, takes to the stage to accept, looking stunned. "I'm in the middle of shooting so this is very unexpected," he says. "Suddenly this is Neil Gaiman giving me an award... this is massive! I cannot tell you how hard it is to find a copy of Empire in Barcelona. Thank you."
Best Thriller (presented by MCM Comic Con) goes to Jason Bourne! Director Paul Greengrass couldn't be at the ceremony this year but he sent a video message. "Thank you so much to Empire magazine, and most of all the readers, for this award," he says. "It means such a lot that it's voted for by people who watch these movies. We had a lot of fun. Who wouldn't have wanted to trash 150 cars on Sunset Strip in Vegas? I hope you have a great piss-up."
Hugh Laurie is here to present the first of our three special awards this evening, the Empire Hero award – though he almost arrives on stage before his introduction has finished, in a charmingly awkward manner. "I horribly mistimed that," he says self-deprecatingly. "I don't really know what I'm doing! It's just so lovely to be out." The recipient of this particular award is a "feroiciously intelligent, brave, kind, good-humoured human being. In short, a hero." The winner of this year's Empire Hero award is none other than Tom Hiddleston!
"They say never meet your heroes," says Tom, in a gracious and humble acceptance speech. "I'm lucky enough that I wouldn't be standing here if I hadn't met mine. I've been lucky enough to work with them. And if I haven't worked with them, I've attempted an impersonation of them on the Graham Norton show."
The Roundhouse is creaking as we move onto the Best Horror (presented by Monkey Shoulder). And it goes to The Witch! Actor Ralph Ineson reads an acceptance speech from director Robert Eggers, who says, "I am constantly astonished and humbled that this boring pilgrim horror movie has got the attention that it has."
Bullshit artist! The Greasy Strangler wins Best Comedy (presented by Absolute Radio). Director Jim Hosking claims that his film does have a message: "if you see a man with cream coloured hair and wonky teeth, don't put your hands on his neck." Executive producer Ben Wheatley is more succinct, simply saying into the microphone: "I need a wee".
Best British Film (presented by The Hollywood Reporter) goes to I, Daniel Blake! Dave Johns returns to stage with his co-star Hayley Squires, who reads a text message from her director Ken Loach. "Ken's literally just texted me," she says. "He says: 'we've been overwhelmed by the response'...it goes on for some time...oh, I think he's calling me.
Next up is the Best Documentary Film – and the winner is immensely likeable mad-fer-it Oasis doc Supersonic. "In the words of Noel Gallagher, 'I applaud your wisdom'," says director Mat Whitecross. "In the words of Liam, 'bananas'."
Rupert Evans and Edith Bowman are on stage now to present Best Female Newcomer (presented by London Hilton on Park Lane). And the winner is... Anya Taylor-Joy! She's had a great year with The Witch, Split, Barry and Morgan. "I just wanted to say thank you to all the people who've taken a chance on me," she says, looking quite amazed to be on stage.
Amara Karan and Lennie James are here to present the first award of the evening: Best Male Newcomer (presented by Pure Organic). It's a hotly-contested category – but the winner is David Johns for his emotional turn in Ken Loach's austerity drama I, Daniel Blake.
He gives a hilarious acceptance speech. "Best newcomer at 61, eh? The pensioners are coming!" he laughs. "I've been a stand-up comic for thirty years, and nobody knew who I was. This is amazing. Thank you so much. These awards mean that the film is in the media still. It has a very important message."
And we're off! The tables cleared of food, the glasses filled with something alcoholic, and our hosts for the evening, Editor-in-Chief of Empire, Terri White "and a worthless lackey in a cheap suit, Chris Hewitt", as the voice of god puts it, arrive on stage. It is "the most irrevent and downright shambolic awards show on the circuit", as Terri points out. She also reminds the audience that it voted for by the public – "and if the last twelve months have proved anything, it's that we can always rely on the general public to cast their votes wisely". Well, quite.
While our glamorous guests finish off their fancy grub, we here at Team Empire are up on the balcony, tucking into some foil-wrapped sandwiches and a couple of packets of Hula Hoops. Truly, the endeavour of journalism never rests.
If you've heard a giant "SQUEEEEE" coming from the North London area, there's no need for alarm: it's merely the arrival of Lord Tom of Hiddleston. And surprisingly, he looks quite dishevelled and unkempt. Only joking: he looks extraordinarily handsome and well-dressed, obviously.
Empire's Helen O'Hara managed to keep the proposals of marriage to a minimum and conduct a Facebook Live interview with the World's Most Charming Man – watch it here.
Well now, look at this: it's man-of-the-hour Dan Stevens! The time is currently 5.09pm but if we're being honest, it's really nine minutes past Dan Stevens. This guy is having a moment at the moment: rave reviews for his hit X-Men TV show Legion, he is also star of what is currently the world's biggest movie in Beauty And The Beast. And he's on our red carpet. Shucks!
Meanwhile, inside the Roundhouse, the voice of god is sounding a little pained in his efforts to get our star-studded guests to sit down so they can have some food, for pity's sake. "Waiters are straining at the door, starters in hand", he says, sounding tired.
And look! It's Peggy Carter! Or as she is known in a more accurate, non-fictional sense, the great Hayley Atwell.
Meanwhile, here in the Roundhouse, the voice of god booms through the auditorium to announce, with divine grace and thunderous authority, that guests should take their seats as dinner is about to be served. Hallelujah!
We have been blessed with greatness: Sir Patrick Stewart is in the house! Disappointingly he opted to wear a sober suit and not a full-size lobster costume, but this is hardly the forum to debate red carpet fashion choices.
Daniel Mays is here now, talking about how he got the role for the multi-nominated Rogue One. "I was on a half-term break with my kids in Devon. No audition, but I had to have a Skype chat with them from an NCP car park. It was completely surreal."
The Walking Dead's Lennie James is here to present Best Male Newcomer, and he's just chatted to Empire's Helen O'Hara on Facebook Live. "I had one joke," he says of his presenting spiel, "but I've lost confidence in it."
The Roundhouse is starting to flood with well-heeled members of the film community. By way of example, here's director Gareth Edwards, on the red carpet chatting to the press.
Edwards has much to be hopeful for tonight – his film, an obscure little indie by the name of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the most nominated film tonight, with nine nods. Will he be at one with the Force tonight? Stay tuned to this live blog to find out.
Now seems as good a time as any to remind ourselves of this year's nominees.
We're here! Team Empire have set up laptops on the balcony here at the Roundhouse, ready to cover the entire event. We're essentially in the middle of the drinks reception, which feels a bit like doing homework at a house party, but as long as nobody spills a cocktail on our Macbooks, we should be fine.
The red carpet is rolled out and our guests should be arriving any minute now – though seeing as many of our guests are fashionable celebrities, we can expect them to be fashionably late. We'll report with full journalistic vigour if we see any famouses, but be sure to keep your internet device locked to the Empire Facebook page, as Empire's Helen O'Hara will be interviewing guests on Facebook Live in the run-up to the ceremony.