Embarrassing myself at the Empire Movie Awards

Tuesday March 29th 2011

As you’ve probably noticed by now, there’s nothing I like more than going / to / events / sponsored / by Jameson Irish Whiskey, so I literally (not literally) jumped at the chance to attend the Empire Movie Awards last Sunday at London’s slightly fancy Grosvenor House.

Upon arrival, press were ushered into a special ‘media room’ – the ‘gift suite’ was locked unfortunately – where we could watch the show and then talk to the winners as they came off stage. There wasn’t much to see when we first got there:

The signs on the floor denoted where each media outlet would stand (YES I AM A MEDIA OUTLET NOW, THANKS FOR ASKING) and also gave a fairly good indication of who the most important people in the room were. Better luck next time, new! Magazine. Maybe people would take you more seriously if you bothered to capitalise that ‘n’.

Anyway, because most of the press were outside on the red carpet, we got into the room about half an hour before everybody else. We were worried it might be boring, but you’d be surprised how quickly 30 minutes passes when you have access to the following:

Nom nom nom, I think you’ll agree.

Eventually all the proper people came in and immediately dashed over to the sandwiches, but not before I’d licked every last one of them. (I didn’t (or did I? (No, I really didn’t))).

Before long the entire room had filled with excitable journalists, all wolfing down crisps and mainlining whiskey. There was an atmosphere of palpable anticipation – or at least that’s what I took from all the standing around waiting for stuff to happen.

One man was so enthusiastic that he was WEARING A TRILBY INDOORS for fuck’s sake:

We’d all been given cheat sheets in case we didn’t know who the famous (and less than famous) people were. Keira Knightley was there, Dustin Hoffman, Ian Hislop – the list goes on.

I didn’t speak to any of the stars for a while, because I didn’t really have anything to say to them and wasn’t quite drunk enough to start harassing people for no reason. Luckily, a couple of whiskey and cokes quickly solved that problem and before long I was having all sorts of wacky fun. Here I am standing in for the absent Daily Mail journalist:

I’m like a young Chris Tookey!

The man pictured below is Ben from HeyUGuys. He’d been lumbered with the task of maintaining their liveblog for the night, and was frantically updating every minute or so while I dossed around in the background. At one point I insisted on doing a guest post on the blog (see 19:01) which I’m sure Ben was absolutely thrilled about.

With alcohol setting up camp in my bloodstream I started to talk to the stars as they walked through. I asked Olivia Williams to marry me and she said she would if she wasn’t already taken. Bloody ‘Rhashan Stone’. Tom Felton came round and I told him he scared me. He apologised and agreed to hold up my floor sign:

Give or take a slightly-too-reflective ‘A’, that is positive proof that Tom Felton is an Ultra Culture fan.

I did my sole interview of the night with Best Director and Inspiration Award winner Edgar Wright, but he might have guessed I didn’t have all that much to say when my first question turned out to be ‘so… anything interesting?’ He did say some lovely things though:

He must have been getting a bit fed up as it went on, because later on in the interview he scratched me with one of his awards:

With the show over, we made to leave the media room, and in doing so walked straight past the King himself, Colin Firth. Turning to face him – a mere six feet away – I waved and blew a kiss. He blew me one back. It was a truly magical moment.

Leaving the Grosvenor, we hopped past security and into the main hall for one last celebrity hunt.

Stars were everywhere, but in the end I just said hello to a couple of people I already knew, shouted something at John Boyega, ran on stage and waved my arms in the air, and then left.

The after party was at Aqua. I’m not saying I don’t remember how I got there but I don’t remember how I got there. Thanks a lot, Jameson.