The Jameson Empire Awards 2013 is almost upon us! Join us here from around 4pm for live updates from the show - including our exclusive live stream from the red carpet followed by winners as they're announced.
You know, back in the day the Great Room at the Grosvenor House Hotel used to be the venue for all manner of society dos and debutante balls. But tonight it receives a baptism of fire in the shape of the Jameson Empire Awards. Not, we hasten to add, that there are any known arsonists on the guest list, and in fact those candles twinkling delightfully on the swanky tables are - I am assured - in fact perfectly safe. Still, this is going to be a proper knees-up, the biggest of our awards yet and an affair that miraculously promises to be both swish and disgraceful.
Right now guests are already filtering in along the red carpet and into the bar area that circles the room proper. We've set up a thawing station for turned into human icicles outside. Yes, visitors to this blog, it's been snowing in London today, which is either proof of the effects of global warming or an indication that Spring is sleeping on the job. With the exception, therefore, of a bevvy of well-wrapped photographers and a small but enthusiastic horde of hardy fans, no one is lingering on the red carpet this year. We suspect, in fact, that the bar staff are being asked for hot toddies on the regular because it is cooollllddd out there. Thank goodness we have the love of cinema, the warm glow left by the best films of last year and the thought of your no-doubt well-considered and carefully-crafted votes to warm the cockles of our hearts.
We're starting our livestreaming interviews from this year's awards right now, right here! It's an Empire first, so bear with Chris and the team if there are any teething troubles, like the camera falling over or Chris saying something rude on air. Right now Adam Brown, of The Hobbit, is our first guest.
Tell you what, this room's a bit fancy. I gave up counting chandeliers when I got to 15, and they're all set off rather nicely by the starry lights round the stage, the red spots swinging around the tables and the steam rising from those who have recently come in from the cold. This year's goody bags, waiting at each seat downstairs, look particularly well-stuffed too, but sadly we staffers don't get one, and it's frowned upon if we attempt to arm-wrestle guests for theirs.
Our Chris is talking to Tom Holland right now - the boy star of The Impossible, who is not to be confused with Tom Hollander, from Pirates Of The Caribbean and Pride & Prejudice and such like, nor the writer Tom Holland, nor the country of Holland. Meanwhile, Tom Hiddleston has arrived and The Inbetweeners's Blake Harrison is here, while Orbital is also in the house. This place is beginning to get just a little bit achingly cool, in fact.
Domnhall Gleeson is here, prompting at least one fellow guest to exclaim, "Who is that extremely hot red-headed man?!" Surely everyone should know who he is by now, dearie me. Mark Strong's chatting to Chris, and Daniel Radcliffe is chatting up the press outside and sporting a rather fab quiff. And as you can see, Tom Hiddleston's looking as sharp as ever.
Rafe Spall's been talking to Chris. "It's taken me 11 years to become a Newcomer. I suppose I'm a newcomer to being in successful films." Meanwhile the Voice Of God is calling people to take their seats downstairs. To be honest, I'm not sure that's actually God, but it's certainly terribly sonorous and well-spoken.
Tom Hiddleston's here, Daniel Radcliffe is chatting to Chris, Jenna Coleman's in the house, and Helen Mirren's on the red carpet outside. That means we have a Prince Of Asgard, The Boy Who Lived, The Impossible Girl and The Queen Her-Blooming-Self in the house right now. The flashbulbs are going constantly down here and people are beginning to take their seats downstairs. It's nearly time to go, people!
Excuse the slight interruption to your service: I ran off to the loo, shouldered past Helen Mirren and her amazing giant pink chandelier earrings (in the most polite possible way, natch); nearly bumped into Jodie Whittaker; waved to Edgar Wright and passed the insanely glam Alice Lowe. You know, average.
This year's winners, be advised : Edgar Wright recommends using your Empire award as a handy and effective spider-killer. Meanwhile, the tables downstairs are maybe 75% filled, so it feels like we're maybe 10 or 15 minutes away from the start of the awards. In the meantime, check out the live stream for all the action.
Helen Mirren says she thinks of herself as a "grubby little Essex girl". Pretty sure she's is literally the only one who feels that way. The flock of white-gloved waiters in the Great Room are delivering starters to the tables, which has enormously sped up the process of getting everyone seated. Mmmm, food. Food would be good. Rumours are circulating that there's half an egg sandwich left in the staff room, so a knock-down fight has begun between those of us free to eat (i.e. not me) to see who gets it. My money's on Ally. She's crafty.
Danny Boyle's telling Chris that they were going to go to Helen Mirren if Her Actual Majesty, the Queen, hadn't been willing to jump out of a helicopter as part of the Olympics Opening Ceremony. As it turned out, of course, the Queen was game and Mirren was able to stand down and, er, go back to playing her in The Audience. Meanwhile, Martin Freeman exclusively reveals that the new season of Sherlock is "effing brilliant". To be honest, we'd figured as much without knowing anything about it.
OMG you guys, here we go! The lights are down, the screen is up and it's beginning. As is traditional, we start with a montage of the best of last year's films, which always serves to make me at least wish I could watch them all again. OK, maybe not all of them. Some of those were kinda traumatic. Still, it's not often you see a segue from Holy Motors to Ice Age: Continental Drift.
"Welcome! I will be your host for this momentous occasion. Some of you will be familiar with my work and some of you will be thinking, isn't that the woman who just went down for taking Chris huhne's speeding points? It was either open with that or a joke about seeing actresses' boobs, so I went with Vicky Price.
"Let's be honest, if you can pronounce Jameson correctly, you haven't drunk enough of it. And don't think because they've got a comedian presenting this show that I won't be taking it seriously; I'll be taking this more seriously than The Dark Knight Rises took itself. Jaysis it's a comic book; lighten up.
"Of course they keep me over here away from the real stars in case I lick them or something. I have a very small role in tonight's show; I don't even present the awards. I have a smaller role than Gwyneth Paltrow in The Avengers.
"They were worried I'd make fun of the films, but you can love a film and still poke holes in it. Like Back To The Future - his parents get together, have a kid - there's going to be a point when he gets to 17 or so that they're going to recognise him. They spent a week with him! He got them together! At the very least the dad's going to wonder if his wife got together with that guy from school.
"The good news, is that snow has not prevented any of the big stars from arriving! Work commitments, however... We begin tonight with Best Horror, presented by Cafe de Paris - now that's a perfect meshing. Like me and Jameson works. Bear Grylls has given his name to survival tools - that works, because his name is synonymous with survival. And tool."
Laura Haddock and Domnhall Gleeson are presenting this one, and – we like to think – arguing off-stage about whether it’s worse to have a fishy surname or a first name that no-one born outside the island of Ireland can pronounce. But when you’re this young and disgustingly talented, we reckon they both win anyway. They're looking adorably awkward up there; it's not easy being the first people up onstage.
After the montage of clips from the nominees, Haddock and Gleeson are back, looking a tad more relaxed. And the winner is THE WOMAN IN BLACK! Good to see one of last year’s homegrown hits do so well, and to see that Daniel Radcliffe has pulling power outside of Harry Potter (and, you know, whatever nightclubs he frequents). Director James Watkins, screenwriter Jane Goldman (hair colour this year: platinum, dipped in pink) and producer Simon Oakes are here to collect the award.
Simon Oakes speaks briefly about how much this means for Hammer, the studio which was reinvigorated by the film's success, followed by some sort and sweet words from Watkins and Goldman. They're played off to Ghostbusters, because we like to be on-the-nose.
BEST SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY presented by Medicinema
Byrne, quite correctly, points out that any self-respecting nerd is horrified when anyone lumps together sci-fi and fantasy together, but here we are anyway and let's just pretend that the two are safely separated onto different bookshelves. The Inbetweeners’ Blake Harrison and Team GB gymnast Beth Tweddle are presenting this one; Tweddle is here, as Harrison points out, "because she trained for years to represent her country, and I'm here because I dance like a twat and pretended to finger a granny".
The winner is THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, and Sir Ian McKellen is here to collect it on behalf of his Middle-earth posse. We wish we could report that someone blocked his route to the stage with a thunderous, “You…shall not…PASS!” but sadly this crowd are far too well behaved for such shenanigans and just provide some thunderous applause instead. Give it an hour or two.
Sir Ian starts with a shout-out to the hobbit (Martin Freeman) and a dwarf (Adam Brown) in the room, and takes us all on a trip back to Lord of the Rings. He also called us The Empire, which has a nice ring to it. Just imagine it in a Darth Vader voice - pretty cool, huh? We should get a cloak. A black one.
Doctor Who’s impossible girl Jenna Coleman, who Byrne dubs "the best-looking Dalek you've ever seen" is presenting this one with Tom Riley, who’s about to play a fairly impossible man in Da Vinci’s Demons. By which we mean he's playing Leonardo Da Vinci, who invented a helicopter, a tank and a machine gun in the 15th century, which is pretty impossible if you ask us.
The winner is HEADHUNTERS, so gratulerer to Norway! Star Synnøve Macody Lund is here to collect, along with producers Marianne Gray and Asle Vatn. Lund is a film journalist when she's not acting, which is giving the entire Empire staff a bit of an inferiority complex.
Gray calls the win "completely unreal"; Vatn says they didn't expect this on Skyfall's home ground.
"Right now Sam Mendes is kicking himself for not getting Bond to hide in a toilet," says Byrne.
Actress Laura Whitmore and Robert Sheehan, who’s soon going to be starring in teen supernatural tale The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones, are here to present Best Comedy.
The winner is TED, but sadly the director can't be with us because, we guess, Seth MacFarlane doesn't want to get on another award stage any time soon. "Our very own CGI teddy bear", Johnny Vegas, is collecting on his behalf, with a full-size Ted alongside.
We'd tell you what Vegas said, but he's started from the premise that he's going to make up libellous and appalling stuff and hope that MacFarlane has a sense of humour about it. We'd give you just a few details of that, but Empire's lawyers all screamed and jumped on the computer when we tried. What MacFarlane's message actually said was, "Thank you to Empire and the whole of Britain for this award. Thanks also for Magna Carta, Shakespeare, John Milton and the entire industrialised economy. In return, please accept my film about a swearing teddy bear."
Vegas has now picked up six awards for other people and may have reached his limit, as he has an emotional breakdown. He thanks his wife for giving the strength to stand up there and pretend to be as good as someone else. It's emotional.
"Such a shame to see a keen comedy mind restrained by the bounds of political correctness," says Byrne. He's right; that joke about [OH GOD NO DON'T WRITE THAT - Empire's lawyers] was much tamer than it could have been.
It’s the award that celebrates the efforts of YOU, the Empire reader. Well, at least THAT GUY, the Empire reader who was sufficiently inspired, insane or industrious to get off his or her arse and remake a major movie in under a minute. But we hope that you at least voted for the winners, because the competition was fierce this year. Some of this year’s selection panel – our MD, Paul Keenan, our own Mark Dinning, Edith Bowman, Alex Zane and Joanne Froggartt – are presenting.
The winner is... PHILIP ASKINS for Blade Runner. Funnily enough he came over earlier to say hello to me, so he's clearly the best of the nominees. Please note that Askins and his team are wearing origami unicorns in their suit pockets, which apparently took bloody ages to fold.
Askins gives a very charming speech advising everyone to make a 60-second film to test their creativity. So do that for next year!
BEST MALE NEWCOMER presented by Entertainment Tonight
Jodie Whittaker, soon to be back on our screens in ace Norn Iron drama Good Vibrations and recently nearly knocked over by me on her way out of the loos, is presenting this one to the young male up-and-comers.
The winner is TOM HOLLAND, and by that we refer not to the popular historian (read Persian Fire; it’s ace) nor the Child's Play director, but the astonishing young star of The Impossible. He was born in 1996 – do you feel old yet?
Holland told Chris earlier that he didn't prepare a speech, but ye gods this young man is poised and charming as he delivers an ace one anyway. Watch out, ladies.
Here to present this award is Sam Claflin, presumably taking a quick break from flirting with half the Capitol as Finnick in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire after, as Byrne puts it, "taking the missionary position" in the last Pirates movie.
And the winner is SAMANTHA BARKS, who showed her better-known co-stars how it was done in Les Miserables and proved that stage stars could make the leap to the screen look easy. Barks just flew in and landed about an hour ago, making a trip from the Isle of Man despite the snow's best efforts to spoil everyone's fun. And then she wore a white dress to further shame snow. Ha! Take that.
EMPIRE INSPIRATION presented by Jameson Irish Whiskey
Here to present our Inspiration award is someone who’s a bit of an Inspiration himself, Kevin Spacey, in a sharp suit, white tie and trainers. Would it be too much to hope for a bit of breaking-the-fourth-wall, direct-to-camera sarky inner monologue as he presents? Sadly yes - but he does speak eloquently about his long friendship with Sam Mendes and Mendes' familiarity with the human spirit. "Not content with exploring and reinventing the theatre, he then turned his attention to motion pictures. His first film won Best Picture and Best Director Oscars - which I can tell you he fucking deserved. Few filmmakers can compare to the breadth of his talent."
Yes, our Inspiration this year is SAM MENDES, who basically smashed any notion that he was just a serious, borderline-arty director by delivering the box-office behemoth and critical titan that was Skyfall. Heck, he deserves it just for that rather magnificent beard he's sporting, which is exceptionally shiny. The montage this time reminds us just how damn gorgeous his films tend to be; where many theatre directors make rather flat-looking films, these are luscious.
"That was like watching my life pass in front of my eyes. I love that Spacey says I know humans, very serious, when really I just type-cast. When I want an amoral suburbanite, Kevin Spacey! [Spacey waves proudly from the side of the stage]."
It's a lovely speech, even when he wasn't saying nice things about us. Rather than thanking collaborators, Mendes thanks filmmakers and moments / characters who inspired him - check out the video online later, and make sure you've seen them all; it's a spine-tingling selection for any film fan and a bit of a film school.
"I can't believe you didn't mention the moment where Bruce Willis flew a car into a helicopter in Die Hard 4," says Byrne of that speech, lowering the tone nicely.
James Watkins, who we saw just a while ago accepting his own award for The Woman In Black, is back onstage to present the Empire Hero award, which recognises someone who we just think is generally pretty ace. Watkins says, "He deserves it for being utterly fearless" for taking the most scrutinised piece of casting of our time in Harry Potter and then delivering over a decade and ten films; tackling the West End stage, "balls out, literally" at 17 in Equus, and doing 345 straight performances on Broadway singing and dancing in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. "This desire to take risks is why I cast him in Woman In Black," explains Watkins.
Yes, this year’s recipient is DANIEL RADCLIFFE, who left the Boy Who Lived behind and has already shown some serious range to his work, inbetween bouncing with that insane energy he has. "It's always embarrassing to see myself, and thanks for the awws at the beginning. Empire's always been unpatronising of Potter and myself, so thanks for that." He thanks the directors who are willing to take a chance on him and see him as something other than Potter, and is, as ever, charming and friendly. Some day he's going to kick a puppy, and we're going to be there to see it, dagnabbit. No one's this reliably chipper.
Mariella Frostrupp is presenting this one, sadly not while wearing a pair of 3D specs, and describes 3D as "possibly the biggest innovation since the invention of the talkie". Discuss in no more than 500 words; 10 marks.
And the winner is DREDD, hurrah! It's about time The Law got a break. Anthony Dod Mantle’s work on that was astonishingly impressive – the best-looking drug trip we’ve seen since we [redacted by Empire’s lawyers]. Here to collect are producers Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich, with co-star Domnhall Gleeson.
"They just told me to come up, and they didn't even give me a name in the movie. I was just fuckin' Techie. But it did look very pretty," grins Gleeson. Macdonald and Reich offer a little more context and thank the readers for their votes.
Long-time Empire friend and someone Byrne describes as "the British Ben Affleck, only he had the sense not to date J.Lo" Dexter Fletcher and "adorable" music star Ellie Goulding are presenting this one.
The winner is SIGHTSEERS, wahey! There's a lot of love for this one in the room. Director Ben Wheatley, producers Nira Park and Claire Jones and co-writers and co-stars Steve Oram and Alice Lowe are all here to collect. It looks like a stage invasion.
Wheatley seems a bit taken aback, or he's had a couple of cocktails already. "I'm having a meltdown. Someone else do it." Steve Oram steps in and manages not to melt down, although he does thank the people who work at his local Sainsburys which might be the same thing. "I wish Johnny Vegas were here to accept our award; he'd have done it brilliantly," says Alice Lowe.
"Sightseers - a movie that confirmed everything we suspected about caravaners," nods Byrne.
We feel like suddenly the end of the world is night, which either means we’re all doomed or that Edgar Wright is here to present the next award during a quick break from editing The World’s End. "It's an award I like to call Avengers vs Bond vs Batman vs Django vs Bilbo. Bilbo from the movie Bilbo Unchained," says Wright.
And the winner "for services to Queen and country" is SAM MENDES, doing the double and played onstage to Nobody Does It Better. Is there anything he can't do? Hmm. We're not sure he can play the accordian. Or do macrame.
"Thank you Edgar; thank you Carly. Me again, sorry," starts Mendes, before praising the great Roger Deakins at some length - all of it thoroughly deserved.
Presenting this next one is a man who recently ventured into A Field In England with Ben Wheatley – so he’s a braver man than we are – and survived to take a crack at playing Patrick Troughton in Doctor Who story An Adventure In Space And Time. It's Reece Shearsmith! "Being an actress myself, I know how much it means to win this. I have a little anecdote here I'd like to share with you - if you could just pass that around [goes down to give a piece of paper to an audience member]"
And the winner is JENNIFER LAWRENCE for The Hunger Games rather than Silver Linings Playbook (or SILVER LININGS (playbook) here in the UK), because Empire voters don't get freaked out by genre movies. She can’t be with us tonight because she’s still hunger gaming somewhere. That, or she tripped on the way to the red carpet and hasn’t gotten up yet. Either way, may the odds be ever in her favour. And she has sent a message, which Shearsmith reads.
"Hi Empire awards, I'm really sorry I can't be there. I'd like to thank the Empire readers for voting for me. I loved playing Catnip - is that right?" asks Shearsmith. "I'll make sure she gets this award... I won't really."
Hang on to your arc reactors; it’s only Rebecca Hall to present the next one, giving Gwyneth Paltrow a run for her money in the Who’s Best Suited For Tony Stark stakes. She's very happy to be here, but I have it on good authority from several of my colleagues that they're even happier. One of them even doodled "Mr Rebecca Hall" with little hearts around it on his binder and everything.
Anyway, the winner is… MARTIN FREEMAN, as the most beloved hobbit we know, and pretty much the only featured hobbit, in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. He's beat Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln, Daniel Craig as Bond and even Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark, so he better watch his back. Those guys do not take defeat lying down.
"I always wondered if it was possible to quantify the best actor, and now I realise that it is, and it's me! What a load of old rubbish I was in with," says Freeman, very much not seriously and very charmingly.
Here’s a treat: Nick Park is presenting this one, during a quick break from polishing his many Oscars / moving bits of plasticene a tiny bit at a time. "It's a great honour to do this; when I got on the bus from Bristol this morning I had no idea I was doing this," says Park.
And the winner is…drumroll please; this is the big one… SKYFALL. The biggest Bond film of all time, the only film ever to pass £100m at the UK box office and generally one of those films that reminds people why Bond is a national icon. To be honest, it is on home ground, as Headhunters' Vatn noted earlier, so that shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
Mendes, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli are there to collect. "Our thanks go back 60 years to when this series was first conceived by Ian Fleming and 50 years to the first movie," says Wilson.
"You really don't want to hear anything else from me tonight, but I just want to say that the people standing behind me are lovely people," says Mendes, before informing us that there have been fewer Bond producers in 50 years than there have been Bonds. Good piece of trivia, that. Remember it for your next pub quiz: 4 producers in half a century. Well done, those four.
Settle down, people: Mark Strong just took the stage. But happily, just as we’re sure he’s about to shout at us for failing to capture Bin Laden already, it turns out he’s presenting this penultimate award to someone who’s done more to contribute to great British cinema than even the head tea lady at Pinewood Studios, and who capped it all last summer by stepping onto the world stage and ruining the Olympic Opening Ceremony for all the rest of the unfortunates ever tasked with organising one in future.
"Unlike the Arsenal, who haven't won a trophy in 8 years, he's won every award imaginable," says Strong of the winner, confident in the knowledge that none of the Gunners fans present is going to pick a fight with Sinestro.
Yes, this goes to DANNY BOYLE, or Sir Daniel Of Boyleshire, Lord High Admiral Danny or whatever other title you think would be sufficiently respectful. After all, he directed the Queen last year, which we think might make him some sort of Imperial Highness, but we defer to your knowledge of etiquette on that. Strong points out that Danny Boyle's first 10 films got 43 Empire stars out of a possible 50. That's a pretty strong showing whatever way you look at it. And here's the man himself bounding onstage.
He's trying to say thanks, but people are still standing, cheering and roaring and generally acting like its the opening of some major sporting event. "This is for contribution to the British film industry, but to be honest the single greatest contribution we made to the British film industry was making a trailer for Skyfall at the Olympics - but that was the least of what we tried to feature at the Games. So it's lovely to have done that on such a platform," says Boyle. He is, as ever, self-deprecating, enthusiastic and energetic - and manages to get a plug in for Trance (opening next Wednesday) at the end so job done.
Someone call Hulk: Tom Hiddleston is in the house, and he’s looking dangerous. OK, dangerously cool, but it could switch at any moment. Come to think of it, Loki’s a Frost Giant: could Hiddleston be responsible for today’s weather? The fiend! Someone call Thor at once – or just give me his number and I’ll call if that’s easier. I mean, that'd be fine.
"I kneel before Loki!" says Byrne.
Hiddleston, ever classy, opens by thanking Byrne for the introduction and for the evening so far, and then begins to introduce this winner. "I read my introduction from a folder marked HM Customs & Revenue, which shows how under-equipped I am in the stationery department but is also a clue."
The theme of his speech, while meandering through this winner's entire career in eloquent detail, is describing her as "luscious, intelligent and smokin' hot" and of course that must refer to HELEN MIRREN. "She might as well be the Queen; most people think she is the Queen," says Hiddleston. "She's an Empire legend and a legend of the Empire, Dame Helen Mirren!"
Another standing ovation, and Hiddleston craftily uses the time to lower the mic. "I feel more of a leg-over than a legend," says Mirren. "Generally my life has been more of a leg over."
She particularly praises our Done In Sixty Second winner. "My whole career feels like that; it's gone so quickly. I've loved every minute of my life in film - no I haven't; that's a lie. Sometimes it's been awful." Mirren wins over the audience further - as if that were necessary - by criticising critics, and thanks everyone in her whole career, "especially craft services".
She also notes that Sam Mendes' list didn't include any with women behind the camera - "It's fair enough, it's not Sam's fault; it's been a very blokey world" - and she expresses the hope that in 5 or 10 years time there will be some women's names in there. Hear hear! "You go, girls!"
"That concludes the formal part of the evening," says Byrne. And that's it! Thanks for joining us here on the live blog, the live stream and twitter, and look out overnight and into tomorrow morning for all the photos and videos from tonight. We're done and out so please excuse me as I head to the bar to see if there are any nuts left.
Congratulations to all our winners; thanks to you, the readers, for voting, and get your thinking caps on for Done In Sixty Seconds next year.
Nice to see Samantha Barks finally getting some love. She was, by far, the best singer in Les Miserables! Her performance really broke my heart, and was amazing to see on the big screen..(And Hugh Jackman was pretty good as well..)
Furthermore Martin Freeman was excellent as Bilbo in The Hobbit. (Much better than Ian Holm IMHO) And I certainly can't argue with Jennifer Lawrence winning again for Silver Linings Playbook. As she absolutely owns that film from the moment she comes on screen! More
Well done Dredd!
Nice to see the film getting some much deserved recognition.
It was the best film of last year in my opinion. It deserved to win in the best British film or Sci-Fi/Fantasy film category, but an award for it superb 3D cinematography from visionary Anthony Dod Mantle is richly deserved and all involved in the film should be justly proud. More
This is just as bad as last year's awards. For example, have any of you idiots seen their ratings on Rotten Tomatoes?! THE HOBBIT has only got 65% fresh, while AVENGERS ASSEMBLE and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES are higher! I don't mind SKYFALL winning, but I've excepted more from you morons! If next year's is even bad, I am NEVER going to submit my votes for the Empire Awards EVER again. You're as bad as the Oscar voters. More