It's that time of year again: the British Academy Film Awards 2014 are only moments away from starting and we're here to bring you all the news as it happens. This story will have all the glitz and glamour of the red carpet arrivals; we'll then have the ceremony itself in the story next door. Unusually for the BAFTAs, there is no sign of rain, sleet or snow for the red carpet this year, which means a 51% lower chance of the celebrities attending seeing their big night marred by frostbite / amputated extremities. At least, we hope not! Red carpet arrivals begin around the 4.45pm (GMT) mark, so check back after that for all the latest...
Guests are beginning to make their way along the red carpet, but at the moment they all appear to be extremely well-dressed and important people who are, however, not famous for their filmmaking. Your Empire team on the ground today, by the way, are myself, Helen "Eleven Year Veteran" O'Hara, Ben "Newbie" Kirby and Ali "Winner's Press Conference" Plumb. We're dressed by Cadbury's, following an unfortunate incident with a carelessly-opened Marvellous Creations bar, and our jewellery is courtesy of last year's Christmas crackers.
Ruth Wilson is the first film star we've spotted, and she gets bonus points for paying attention to the season and wearing a holographic shiny suit rather than some flimsy arm-baring dress. Christoph Waltz is also here and cheerily signing autographs for fans. He is evidently in King Schultz form rather than a Hans Landa mood. In fairness, that does appear to be his default.
Ruth Wilson's here on behalf of Saving Mr Banks, it seems. She says that it was like making a little independent film in three weeks with Colin Farrell, only for them to then add a huge Emma Thompson / Tom Hanks film on to the edges. She's currently filming a series called The Affair with Dominic West. They're both doing American accents for it; we kinda wish he'd do a show based entirely on McNulty's English accent from The Wire.
No new star spots except for the likes of Fearne Cotton and Edith Bowman. It seems that this is the time, on the red carpet, when all of the celebrities are still in their limos, making their drivers go round and round the block, swearing that they are not going to arrive before DiCaprio. Since he usually sneaks in about 5 minutes before the show starts, there might be a pile-up at the last second. Nominees! It is not currently raining! Hit the carpet now and you might make it the whole way up without your hair frizzing up into something that resembles Bradley Cooper in American Hustle.
Gillian Anderson's just about to start shooting The Fall season 2 in Belfast; she's here to present Best Animated Feature. Ray Winstone is signing autographs, while Christoph Waltz has revealed that he's presenting Best Film, which he says is as much of an honour as getting an award himself. Well, he'd know.
Will Poulter's working the crowd; David Morrisey's bringing some dapper to proceedings, whereupon Dermot O'Leary, interviewing him, drops a massive Walking Dead spoiler. Steve McQueen's talking to the BBC and being charming; Ray Winstone's here just ahead of his 57th birthday. Barkhad Abdi's enjoying his moment with the crowd. Daniel Bruhl's following him along the barricades where, we assume, everyone is telling him he was robbed of an Oscar nod for Rush instead of asking for his autograph. His director, Ron Howard, has just stepped out of the car too.
Gosh, Will Poulter suddenly got really tall; he's taking his Rising star nomination as an instruction, it seems. Eddie Redmayne's smiling for people's cameraphones along the barriers; Tinie Tempah, who we believe is a popular musician, is performing tonight and walking the carpet in the coolest specs we've ever seen. "I've never done an awards show like this," he says. "Normally I'm looking out at my fans or my peers; these are people I literally worship." Literally? Barkhad Abdi has brought his sister with him and seems delighted to be there. "I'm honoured and humbled by everything I'm getting; all respect to everyone who worked on Captain Philips; this is down to you." He says he wants to direct, but for tonight he's just out to have fun.
Lupita Nyong'o, who's been the best-dressed person all awards season (no mean feat among the world's best-dressed people), is in emerald green, presumably to match all her rival's eyes. Leonardo DiCaprio has arrived and the screaming has reached new heights. He looks totally calm and totally cool about the hysteria, presumably because it's just a typical day ending in a Y for him. Alfonso Cuaron is posing for pictures with extremely wise fans who value directors over mere actors. A bearded Chiwetel Ejiofor is smiling the smile of a man who knows that his career has gone up a rung even if Matthew McConaughey does take Best Actor at the Oscars in two weeks' time. Eddie Redmayne revealed that he failed to present an award last year because he got food poisoning, but he's back to give out the Rising Star award this year.
"I feel really blessed," says Nyong'o, "And to be up for two awards [Best Supporting Actor and the Rising Star award], I have two chances!" Steve McQueen says, "The biggest thing about being here is being in London town. I was born hearing this noise so to be here is fantastic...Making a film about slavery, you've got to make a film about slavery. It's one of those things where one has to be honest and truthful."
Dermot O'Leary just introduced 12 Years A Slave star Nyong'o to Laura Mvula, who wrote the song for the film. George McKay, who's up for Rising Star, is saying nice things about everyone. O'Leary has just dubbed Sam Claflin and Laura Haddock "the Claddocks"; it's their first outing as a married couple. Amy Adams has just arrived, with hair slicked back to avoid American Hustle comparisons. Cuaron's explaining that, "When I first started [Gravity] I thought it was going to be a simple task. It was a big miscalculation! We had to invent new technologies to make it happen, but everybody was just trying to achieve the emotional journey."
Douglas Booth, who we just saw in a coffee shop down the road the other day, is set to present Best Hair & Make-Up with Claflin. Martin Scorsese is walking rapidly up the carpet, presumably trying to sidestep both any interviewees who are likely to ask who he's wearing and also any actors who might start begging him for a job. Richard E. Grant is presenting Production Design and Sound tonight. Oh, and Tom Hanks has arrived, causing the carpet to become 34% more avuncular. His wife Rita Wilson appears to have killed a woolly mammoth and is now using its skin as a wrap.
Chiwetel Ejiofor is giving an interview about playing the lead in 12 Years A Slave, only to be drowned out by the crowd chanting "Leo! Leo! Leo!". They clearly didn't get the memo that all the presenters did about not admitting to favourites. Luke Evans and Michael Sheen are now working the crowd. Do we think that presenting at the BAFTAs has ever helped some of the young, hot Brits they inevitably ask to get a job with the big US directors who also attend? Emma Thompson has arrived, wearing an enormous quiff that would make not just Elvis but also Johnny Bravo proud.
DiCaprio says, "Look, I don't predict any of these things and I have no idea what's going to happen [tonight], but to be here with a film like this that takes a lot of chances is great. This is a 7 year process; I try to find movies that are outside the studio system. It's a great moment for me." Of working with Scorsese, he says, "I was lucky enough to do one movie with him; the fact that it's five now is beyond my wildest dreams. I've learned so much about the filmmaking process and what it is to be an actor from working with him."
Presumptive Best Actress winner Cate Blanchett's arrived, as has Maggie Gyllenhaal who's presenting. Oprah Winfrey is here but, disappointingly, has not announced that she's planning to give an SUV to everyone in the crowd (or, for preference, everyone in the media centre). David O. Russell and Amy Adams are working the press line together; he's raving about how good she is; she's now returning the compliment. Adams corrects reports that she watched Downton Abbey for her English accent in the film; apparently she in fact watched 1970s clips of Julie Christie and Marianne Faithfull on YouTube.
Steve Coogan's talking to O'Leary about Philomena. "It was something very different for me rather than the usual comedy stuff, so I just hoped that people would notice it. It's very gratifying. It resonates because it's about a mother looking for her son, and everyone has a mum so it's a universal connection." Sadly, he's in a really respectable Armani rather than a Partridge-style safari suit.
Ron Howard, who knows his awards ceremonies, says he enjoys the BAFTAs because they're "loose". He did F1 training to prepare for Rush, it turns out. "I would not be a competitive racer, but it was great fun." Dame Judi Dench has arrived, looking regal. Maybe she and Cate Blanchett will have an Elizabeth I off. Maybe they'll gang up on Helen Mirren with her Elizabeth II! (Yes, we know Mirren also played the Tudor Queen, so maybe they can form some sort of threesome and tour the country trying to out-QE1 each other)
Michael Fassbender's wearing a pretty solid, and rather ginger, beard because he's currently shooting "The Scottish Film". He won't say Macbeth! Looks like theatre superstition transfers over to the movies. "There's a lot of trust there to go to those places," he says of working with McQueen on 12 Years A Slave. He's got a gangster film he calls Trespass (wasn't that called Trespass Against Us?) coming up after that.
Maggie Gyllenhaal is here promoting a BBC series called The Honourable Woman that is "my favourite thing I've ever done in my entire life". Wow, Helen McCrory has the tallest hair we've ever seen. It's like Kid and Play are her hairdressers. She claims that she "dances like a Nigerian prostitute". We have no idea what that looks like, but we now want to crash the after-party to find out. Christian Bale is working the carpet, and we just spotted Paul Greengrass laughing with Harvey Weinstein. Let's get those two together. Brad Pitt has turned up, with Angelina Jolie in black and white.
Brad Pitt still has the shaved sides and slicked-back middle haircut he's been sporting for whatever we're supposed to call David Ayer's Fury today, but at least he's shaved the moustache he had for a while there. Jolie is in a girl-tuxedo; well, when you're as hot as she is, why bother squeezing yourself into something form-fitting and drafty? Much better to wear a suit and be able to eat some canapes. Fans of Angelina Jolie's leg, however, are likely to be disappointed.
Helen Mirren, recipient of this year's BAFTA Fellowship, is wearing a combination of sheer and glitter like a boss. "There are two great ways to go to an awards ceremony: knowing you're not going to win - and I've done that a few times - and knowing you're going to win - and this is my first time doing that."
The red carpet's largely done: Stanley Tucci, Christian Bale and Helen Mirren are stuck in a traffic jam of purest awesome just outside the doors to the Opera House, while Oprah's posing with her on-screen son David Oyelowo for the assembled paparazzi and Bradley Cooper keeps signing autographs until he's dragged away to pose with David O. Russell. But there is just one final arrival, and no, the last big name to turn up isn't Clooney. Prince William has just arrived, in his capacity as President of the Academy and therefore head of BAFTA. We like to think he's here to pay his respects to on-screen granny Helen Mirren too, but that might make for an awkward conversation so perhaps not.