Empire Awards 2012 'liveblog'


26th March 2012

Due to an administration error, I have been given press accreditation to the Jameson Empire Awards 2012. I'm in the building, I have a laptop, and there's not a damn thing anyone can do to stop me. Except stop me.

14:40 - Hello friends. I'm sitting in the lobby of the Grosvenor Hotel in Marble Arch, getting ready to cover the Jameson Empire Awards. For TheShiznit.co.uk. Don't worry, I'm just as baffled as you are. I'm actually a good three hours early, so the following few posts should be real crackers. Ooh, a waiter just walked past! Carrying a towel! Possibly for a celeb!

I'm going to attempt to make this interesting, but please don't blame me if the quality and quantity of posts decreases throughout the night, as I've heard there are complimentary whiskey miniatures in the mythical 'press room'. Yes, that's right - the one that's not open for another two hours.

To pass the time, here's a picture of the press pen. It's a free-range environment where happy journalists can roam around freely and peck at the ground for sustenance.

Expect more, equally thrilling photographs throughout the night.

I apologise in advance for this entire post. Back soon.

14:46 - Just realised my complimentary wi-fi runs out in about 55 minutes. This could be an extremely short liveblog.

15:50 - Apologies for the delay in communique, folks. I've made my way to the press room and am helping myself to a nice White Rioja courtesy of Empire. I'm sat here with Charlie of Ultra Culture whiling away the hours until people show up. There are some other bloggers here but they've commandeered the laptop table area and are stealing all the wi-fi. One of them is using it to watch football.

16:15 - Something happened! We just ran into Face Of Empire and tonight's co-host, Chris Hewitt, loitering in the corridor. SCOOP. Chris says he's very nervous but we think he's just being modest and he's going to lliterally smash it into a million bits. Ever the entertainer, he did an Ewok impression for us, then pretended he didn't know who I am.

16:50 - Yay! Food and drink has arrived, courtesy of a very stern looking but friendly woman. Look!

Naturally I have eaten everything already.

HUNGOVER UPDATE: The evening didn't actually end after the sandwiches came out, but the wi-fi did, which meant I was unable to continue. I'll try and update this with my best approximation of what happened as soon as I've found something with bacon in it.

UPDATE UPDATE: Right, I've got bacon in me and I've had a little nap. Here's my best guess as to what else happened.

16:55 - Nothing is happening. I start to make my own fun.

17:00 - A nice PR woman comes over and arranges lots of bits of paper with press outlets on them all over the floor. These are to tell us where to sit/stand (fascists!), but given we're the only ones here, we have our bits of paper placed at our feet. Here's mine.

I don't think I've ever been important enough to warrant a bit of paper with my website name on it before. Look at me now, Dad! Although I will note that the font on it is smaller than it was last year, and it isn't in capitals either. Note to Empire: STANDARDS ARE SLIPPING, GUYS.

17:30 - My reign of terror over the buffet has ended: all the press outside covering the red carpet come piling into the press room and set up camp, with their massive cameras and microphones and properly trained presenters and everything. I'm crammed into a little cordoned off area along with everyone else. Here's a visual representation.

I was stuck between Charlie and two nice boys from either new! magazine or now! magazine, I forget which. At this point I have accidentally got a little bit drunk and realised I polished off almost a whole bottle of wine by myself: not so drunk that I was slurring my words, but just drunk enough to give me the confidence to stick my dictaphone under the noses of any celebrities foolish enough to approach me. Perfect! What could go wrong!

18:00 - The awards have started now, even though the TV showing them in the press room had the sound turned way down and the camera wasn't actually pointing at the stage. I have realised I am almost certainly going to have to talk to someone.

18:10 - A weirdly aggressive photographer wearing a little hat circa Ocean Colour Scene 1996 comes and stands literally a foot in front of us, which - in an area as cramped as our little press pen - is practically an invitation of anal sex. Charlie politely asked whether he was planning on standing there all night - didn't he have a bit of paper with HIS name on it somewhere? - and he responded by questioning our journalistic integrity, muttering to himself and challenging us to a fight.

This is 10% terrifying and 90% hilarious, because it's impossible to be threatening when you're wearing a stupid little summer hat. Also, if you've ever met Charlie off Ultra Culture, you'll know he's the most polite, non-threatening person alive. Look at him, the adorable idiot.

After our near-death experience, weirdly aggressive photographer man was seen muttering to himself and trying - and failing - to find a spot to stand. He had actually disappeared by the time the stars arrived.

18:15 - Shit! The stars have arrived! Buoyed by our encounter with the hat man - THIS WAS OUR HOOK - we stood up and got ready to chat to ACTUAL CELEBRITY PEOPLE. A nice PR lady asked if I wanted to talk to Chris O'Dowd, so obviously I said yes and had a thousand heart attacks at the same time. Unfortunately, the interview didn't go quite as planned.

Chris came over and kicked off the interview by telling us how knackered he was and how he just had knee surgery and how he "just wanted to go back to my fucking table", but in a jokey way. Charlie opened the line of questioning, told him about the weird hat guy and all was going well until I steered the topic of conversation on to his new film, Friends With Kids, specifically his co-star, Jon Hamm. Here's how the conversation went down, more or less.

Me: "So how sexy is Jon Hamm?"
Chris: "He's a fucking handsome fellow, yeah."
Me: "He's not here tonight though, right?"
Chris: "Why would he be here?"
Me: "You mean because all of his films have been rubbish?"

At this point, I'll freeze the action and step out of the frame to explain, Ferris Bueller-style. Yes, it's a fucking stupid thing to say. I am fully aware of that now. It was one of the awful moments that happened in slow-motion and I could feel every terrible syllable falling out of my mouth. It was said in a jokey way, in that I was suggesting that Chris had posited that Jon Hamm wasn't in attendance because none of his films had been nominated.

Obviously it didn't come out that way at all, and the floor gives way beneath me. At this point, I am also acutely aware of the fact I am still holding my glass of wine while conducting the interview. Back to it.

Chris: "No... because he's not from Britain. [awkward silence] You need to work harder... Weeird. I don't know. The Town is great? I don't know what the fuck you're talking about, shithead. I can see why you had problems with this guy [points to weird hat man]. You're sipping your fucking chardonnay, I can see who's the dick between you two guys. [silence] But yeah, he is a sexy dude."

I must point out, the humourous inference doesn't quite come off in print - it was certainly a tongue-in-cheek cornholing on his behalf and we all shared a laugh at my inherent naffness. I still can't quite remember why I thought jokingly slagging off his co-star's movies - including ones that he was in - was a good idea. I love Jon Hamm! And Chris O'Dowd!

18:20 - I speak to the lovely MyAnna Buring, who was in Kill List, one of my favourite films of last year. Kill List won Best Horror (I think - JOURNALISM) so she said how proud she was of the film and was generally polite and gorgeous and, importantly, didn't call me a shithead. Even then, I almost managed to offend her and her film by asking her: "So... did you know what it was actually about?" Thankfully, she did.

18:25 - The Inbetweeners are here! Because it's a Film4 film, they basically queue up to speak to the frustratingly fantastic editor of Film4.com and not the guy from TheShiznot.com or whatever. It's probably just as well, because the one who plays Neil used to go out with a friend of mine and I couldn't possibly conduct a decent interview with him with that massive conversational landmine underfoot. They won Best Comedy.

18:30 - Tom Hiddlestone and Hayley Atwell are in the house. I almost commit suicide because even standing in the same room as people that good-looking and talented is too much to bear.

18:45 - Fucking hell, Michael Fassbender is here too! I decide to break free from my velvet prison and go stand behind the wall of photographers doing their best to give him an epilepsy attack.

18:46 - The only sandwiches left are the stale cheese ones that have been thumbed open. While I'm panicking at the lack of refreshments, Gary Oldman enters and leaves without me even noticing.

19:00 - The awards are over. David Yates hovered near me for a while (not literally) but I didn't get a chance to speak to him, which was a shame as Harry Potter won EVERYTHING. My David Yates interview was basically going to consist of a chest-bump and nothing else. Probably.

19:15 - We head off to the after party at Cafe De Paris in Leicester Square. Word has got out about my Chris O'Dowd interview. It's obvious it has now overshadowed the fight we nearly got into as tonight's talking point.

20:00 - Hooray! Drinks! People! Loud music! Thrilled that I don't have to pretend I'm an actual journalist any more and can get on with being just a plain old twat, I make a start on the complimentary whiskey-based drinks, that all have hilarious names like War Mule and Tinker Tailor Soldier Sour (removed from the menu was one Empire staffer's earlier suggestion, The Thirst Avenger, which I thought was brilliant).

20:30 - I'm going to be honest, the rest of the night was a bit of a blur. I don't even really drink whiskey all that much and my mouth tastes like lemons. The problem with a free bar (stay with me) is that they just line drinks up on the bar, but when there are only a few left, you can't tell if you're just swiping someone's cocktails. I apologise to anyone who turned around to see a sweaty berk in a jumper drinking your beverage.

22:00 - Yes, I'm most definitely a little bit messy by now. I'd love to tell you how I regaled everyone with charming anecdotes, but I probably just danced slightly too aggressively and shouted in everyone's faces. In an apparent attempt to have myself uninvited from next year's awards, I manage to spill drinks on every staff member I can find. Great.

Unspecified point in the evening - According to eyewitness reports I spotted Chris O'Dowd in the o'crowd and went over to drunkenly apologise to him and we both had a good laugh about it. I'd love to tell you what he said but to be honest, I couldn't make out a fucking word. Still: bro hugs make everything better.

01:00, probably - Time to go home. Somehow I've struck up a conversation with Bill Milner of X-Men: First Class and Son Of Rambow fame in McDonald's. A quarter pounder meal with Diet Coke, since you asked. I get a cab home because I didn't pay for a single thing all night and it's the best thing ever, because fuck night buses.

Thanks to Tyler at Romley Davies, Jameson and all at Empire for allowing me to besmirch your press room and accost your celebrities. Sorry to Chris O'Dowd. Read the full list of winners here.

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