Five things that happened at the Empire Awards last night

Monday March 26th 2012

Last night saw the great and good (and the barely recognisable) of the British film industry descend upon the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s swanky Mayfair for the 17th annual Jameson Empire Awards. All your favourite stars were there (even Dolph Lundgren) and so was I, chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool in the press room backstage.

Because the experience was almost identical to last year (I was stood in the same square foot) I quickly decided against doing a full photo diary, but here are five notable things that went down amidst the whiskey-drenched chaos …

I didn’t get to see much of the ceremony itself because the television in the press room had the sound turned down, but I can report that Face Of Empire Magazine Chris Hewitt co-hosted with Lauren Laverne and apparently it went down quite well. The above photograph features Hewitt looking ‘quizzical’ shortly before the show began.

Once again I skipped the red carpet, which meant that I (and a handful of other stragglers) had access to the press room before the hoard arrived. Eager to make it as far as the after party this year, I distanced myself from the fifty bottles of Jameson and instead made some assemblage art out of the furniture. Eat your heart out, Kienholz.

I conducted a grand total of one (1) interview across the evening, and it was with FAQ About Time Travel star Chris O’Dowd. He spent most of our time together complaining about a back injury, but I did manage to inject some degree of topicality into the interview by asking him if he wanted to say anything vaguely provocative about sexism that could be wildly misquoted across the internet. He duly obliged.

Movie bloggers aren’t known for their propensity for violence, so the Empire Awards press room generally has quite a relaxed atmosphere. Or so I thought. As I sat in my chair at the edge of the press pen, a photographer came and stood in front of me, and when I say ‘in front of me’, I mean we were three or four inches away from a lapdance. He stared down at me and I stared back at him, and in an effort to break the tension I asked him how long he intended to stand there. After all, I had important questions to be asking Chris O’Dowd. He didn’t react well to that, labelling me ‘Mr. Cheek’ and enquiring as to whether I fancied accompanying him outside. Other genuine quotes from our exchange: “How long have you been doing this, six months?” “You will never fucking do that again.” “I’m going to stand here for another two minutes.” I should point out that throughout this incident he was wearing a flowery summer hat.

The after party took place at Cafe de Paris, a spectacularly awful club in Piccadilly Circus. It was an odd choice of venue for an Empire Magazine party (you couldn’t even hear yourself think about The Avengers) but after a few badly named cocktails — Tinker Tailor Soldier Sour, anyone? — people seemed to be digging it. Photos weren’t allowed (“we like to consider all of our guests to be VIPs, so please respect your fellow guests by not asking for any personal pictures”) but I did record the above video in an attempt to recreate that amazing tracking shot from The Social Network. As you can see, it was a great success.