The best films and filmmakers of the past year, as voted for by the cinema-going public, were honoured this evening at the 19th Jameson Empire Awards. Film fans from the UK and around the world selected their cinema highlights for the awards, which honour blockbusters, independent filmmaking and home-grown British films.
To celebrate 25 years of the magazine, Empire bestowed two special Lifetime awards on star guests Tom Cruise and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Current Empire cover-star Cruise was presented with Empire’s Legend of Our Lifetime award by Rosamund Pike. Acknowledging his stellar career to date, the magazine highlighted his outstanding work on Top Gun, Mission Impossible, Jerry Maguire and Interview with the Vampire. The Action Hero of Our Lifetime award was bestowed to action legend Arnold Schwarzenegger who was honoured for his performances in a host of well-loved action movies including True Lies, Predator, The Terminator series and Total Recall.
Two further special awards were presented by Empire to Hugh Jackman and Simon Pegg. Jackman attended the ceremony to receive the Empire Icon award presented by Jameson Irish Whiskey while Simon Pegg collected the Empire Hero award. Pegg joins an illustrious list of previous winners that includes Daniel Radcliffe, Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley and Jude Law.
Pegg’s recent film The World’s End scooped Best British Film in what was to be an outstanding evening for British filmmaking talent. James McAvoy and Emma Thompson took the Jameson Best Actor and Best Actress presented by Max Factor awards and Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa was awarded Best Comedy presented by Magic 105.4. In addition, Oscar and BAFTA-nominee Sally Hawkins received the award for Best Supporting Actress for Blue Jasmine. Joining Hawkins in the new supporting actor categories – introduced this year to acknowledge the extensive breadth actors shortlisted by readers – was Michael Fassbender who won the Best Supporting Actor presented by The National Lottery award for his role in 12 Years a Slave.
Actors new to our screens were honoured in the Newcomer categories with Margot Robbie collecting the award for Best Female Newcomer presented by Max Factor for her exceptional performance in The Wolf of Wall Street while Aidan Turner collected Best Male Newcomer presented by Tresor Paris for his role in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Peter Jackson’s epic sequel also took a second award for Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film presented by MediCinema.
Another film scooping multiple awards was Gravity for which helmer Alfonso Cuarón triumphed in the Best Director category and which received the prestigious Best Film accolade, presented by Sky Movies.
As previously announced, British director Paul Greengrass also received the Empire Inspiration Award, presented by Mazda Motors UK, for his work on the Bourne trilogy and recent commercial and critical success Captain Phillips.
The Jameson Empire Awards continue to recognise the diverse tastes of cinema-goers, with awards dedicated to popular genres including Best Horror which went to The Conjuring, and Best Thriller presented by Quaglino’s awarded to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
The Jameson Empire Done in 60 Seconds short film award-winner was David Smith from the UK for his remake of There Will Be Blood. Smith was on a shortlist of 24 contestants from 16 countries , nominated by Empire readers, which was then whittled down to the Top 5 by the judging panel who finally picked their winner.
Also present at the event this evening were nominees, presenters and guests including: Tom Cruise; Arnold Schwarzenegger; Kate Beckinsale; Darren Aronofsky; Hugh Jackman; Rosamund Pike; Simon Pegg; JJ Abrams; Margot Robbie; Steve Coogan; Jonathan Ross; Emma Thompson; The Inbetweeners cast; Sarah Harding; Stephen Fry; Brian Cox; Richard E Grant; Will Poulter; Douglas Booth; Mark Gatiss; Paul Greengrass; Celia Imrie; Sally Hawkins; James McAvoy; Armando Iannucci; Hayley Atwell; Logan Lerman and Professor Brian Cox.
Full official List of Winners Below:
EMPIRE 25th AWARD: The Legend of Our Lifetime
Presented by: Rosamund Pike
EMPIRE 25th AWARD: The Action Hero of Our Lifetime
Presented by: Jonathan Ross
EMPIRE ICON presented by Jameson Irish Whiskey
Presented by: Darren Aronofsky
Presented by: JJ Abrams
EMPIRE INSPIRATION presented by Mazda Motors UK
Presented by: Brian Cox
Best Male Newcomer presented by Tresor Paris
Presented by: Sarah Harding
Aidan Turner (The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug)
Best Female Newcomer presented by Max Factor
Presented by: Richard Armitage
Margot Robbie (The Wolf Of Wall Street)
Presented by: MyAnna Buring
Best Comedy presented by Magic 105.4
Presented by: The Inbetweeners cast
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
Best Thriller presented by Quaglino’s
Presented by: Stacy Martin & Jamie Campbell Bower
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy presented by MediCinema
Presented by: Sophie Turner & Thomas Brodie-Sangster
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
Best Supporting Actor presented by The National Lottery
Presented by: Celia Imrie
Michael Fassbender (12 Years A Slave)
Best Supporting Actress
Presented by: Richard E Grant
Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
Best British Film
Presented by: Mark Gatiss
The World’s End
Best Actress presented by Max Factor
Presented by: Stephen Fry
Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks)
Jameson Best Actor
Presented by: Kate Beckinsale
James McAvoy (Filth)
Best Director presented by Air New Zealand
Presented by: Logan Lerman & Douglas Booth
Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)
Best Film presented by Sky Movies
Presented by: Brian Cox
DONE IN 60 SECONDS
Presented by: Edith Bowman, Ben Wheatley, Alex Zane
David Smith, There Will Be Blood
Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Constantine, Ricky Gervais and Director James Bobin spoke about The Muppets sequel Muppets Most Wanted in London for an in depth press conference. The Stars and creative team behind the family friendly sequel told us all about working with the ultimate diva Miss Piggy, dance moves, relationship advice, all star celebrity cameos and filming on location in the Tower of London. Read a full transcript below of the hilarious UK press conference.
Q. Kermit how did it feel to be an action star in this film?
Kermit: I think of myself as kind of getting to do a bit of an action role in this. It’s something I haven’t done before. In order to prepare for that role I watched all of Bruce Willis’s movies. When that didn’t work I just went to his hairdresser.
Q. Ricky How much of a dream come true was this job?
Ricky: It’s not a job is it. This is fun. I’m a big kid and I can’t believe my luck. I’ve been a fan of the Muppets for 30 years. I used to watch them on Sundays with my family. So this was a good call to get. I didn’t know this guy (Constantine) before but now he’s one of my best pals.
Constantine: That is right we are buddies. You will give me your email address right? I kep asking for it but he does not give it. How are we supposed to stay in touch if you do not give email address!?
Ricky: I think about Constantine a lot. I say to my girlfriend… I wonder where Constantine is today… it’s usually in a bag.
Constantine: This is Right!
Q. Constantin what does it feel like for everyone to hate you.
Ricky: Wow.. That’s usually my question!
Constantine: Ricky you want to field this one? Well you know being the bad guy… oh it’s such a tough question to answer. There is part of me that kind of enjoyed being the bad guy and enjoyed being hated. I was written that way so what can I say.
Kermit: Lady Gaga did a song about that. I have to say though we don’t hate him. It’s sort of just a story from the movie, he’s actually an old pal from the swamp. Ricky is his best friend now and he’s a good guy.
Ricky: In the movie he’s evil but I think doing this movie and meeting me has thawed his little heart of stone. You see he was born in a pond in Russia one of 800 brothers and sisters. All tadpoles. Many of them dead, eaten by fish! But showing him love has made him quite a cuddly little thing. (Tickles Constantine under his chin)
Constantine: (Laughs uncontrollably) stop it stop it. Do NOT tickle me!
Q. Ricky how did it feel being oustaged by the Muppets?
Ricky: I knew it was going to happen. I knew from day one. The first thing that worried me in the script was the song and dance number. I’m okay at singing. I’m a failed pop star. I always sneak a song in. I wrote a song with David Brent, I’m still doing it. I wrote a song with David Bowie for extras. I wrote a song in Sesame Street with Elmo. The Simpsons. But dancing… a little bit awkward. Then I thought it’s alright there’s going to be frog on screen dancing, they’re not really going to be caring what you’re doing with your clumsy little short legs. It was sort of meant to be awkward as well. But I love being upstaged by the Muppets. I ruined a lot of takes by jus laughing. One I just went “Hehehe I’m In the Muppets!”. They yelled cut and said yes you are in the Muppets so let’s do that again and just don’t say that!
Q. Constantine are you worried about being typecast?
Constantine: Well you know the one thing I’m really worried about are authorities catching up with me. And also my face being plastered everywhere. So I think maybe I need to change my career path. Maybe I will be an agent in Hollywood! Does this sound good?
Ricky: Yeah you could do that.. anyone can.
Q. How do you feel about people the word Muppet as an insult?
Kermit: Well we’re sort of like a rep company. I’m not a species called Muppet, I’m a frog. I belong to a group called the Muppet and quite frankly… I see the point. They’re a little slow.
Ricky: Yeah, it’s sort of a term of affection as well. You call someone a Muppet when they’ve made an error. We’ve all made mistakes, especially the Muppets and that’ why we love them. It’s a term of affection.
Kermit: I think there are worse things to be called!
Ricky: I’ve got a list!
Q. In the movie we see you paying off a journalist for good reviews, is that quite accurate in real life?
Ricky: Do you want some money? Just say it! (Takes out a handful of money) I don’t think so. I think everything is heightened. I was with an Irish journalist yesterday and he mentioned about Irish people in the film wearing flat caps. I did an episode of Alias that wasn’t a joke and it was meant to be set in a pub in Dublin. All that was missing was a horse! There was straw on the floor, people smoking pipes it looked like the 1950s. But it was just heightened; it’s playing with stereotypes if anything.
Q. Did you envoke the character of David Brent for any of your dance moves?
Ricky: I did that song and dance many times, most of it was choreographed but that bit was ad libbed. That’s my best dancing!
Q. Was Ricky harder to work with than the Muppets?
Constantine: No there was only one character who was really hard to work with. Everybody knows who it is. Let’s Just get it out in the open… (Miss Piggy Arrives) … Right on cue Pig!
Miss Piggy: I’m here everyone it is I. My ears are burning, where you talking about Moi? Hello Ricky… Hello person over there…
Kermit: This is Edith Piggy… she’s not with me for the record.
Q. Kermit and Piggy I’m about to get married next week and I wondered as one of the world’s most high profile celebrity couples if you had any advice. Piggy for my beautiful soon to be wife and Kermit for me as a husband?
Piggy: I think I need some advice from you and you’re lovely because you’re engaged and I’m not!
Kermit: I advise full compliance. I think it’s the only way to go in a modern Marriage. But are you marrying a barnyard animal or a human woman?
Just a beautiful human woman
Kermit: Oh good… well it still applies!
Ricky: Have you noticed in the Muppet movies when they get married and have children it’s ether a frog or a pig there’s no hybrid weird abominations. We’ve got three frigs and a pog!
Q. Ricky what’s the true spirit of the Muppets?
Ricky: I think trying your hardest and optimism and the acceptance of difference, which isn’t even commented on other than being a good thing. I like the fact that they struggle. I do that a lot in comedy it’s essential. I learnt that from Laurel and Hardy. They were precarious, they called fall at any moment but I loved the relationship. Optimism is another thing I’ve always supported. I like David Brent because he made a fool of himself but then he got back up and I think that’s the spirit of the Muppets. It’s fun deconstructing that for an adult audience. Not cynicism but that awareness of this magical world.
Director: Try your best is very important to the Muppets. That’s very important to the Muppets and even our human stars. I don’t want you to be able to sing and dance perfectly I just want you to try your best. That’s lucky for you Ricky!
Piggy: The real spirit of the Muppets in flawless beauty.
Q. The film is packed with star cameos how do they come about?
Director: Well largely we write those in at a script stage. We even write the name of the particular person down. Usually we find because there’s such a great love out there for the Muppets people tend to say yes. I’ve done it a lot of other times and it doesn’t go that way. It’s amazing when we write for someone to be Piggy’s spiritual advisor and duet with her. We think who would be perfect for that… of course Celine Dion. We call her up and she’s like yeah of course I’ll do that no problem. That never ever happens and it’ amazing.
Q. Can you explain why Rolf talks but Fou Fou doesn’t?
Kermit: Well Fou Fou is just a pet, she’s hardly sentient. Rolf is an old piano playing dog. I don’t think we need to explain it any further!
Q. Having done so many different types of films I there a genre you’d like to explore for the next Muppets adventure?
Ricky: The best genre is obviously sequel, everyone knows that. As we know films get better and better with every sequel… Rocky 6, Grease 2, Godfather Part 3. So we’re just looking forward to the next sequel, whatever it is. Muppets Less wanted.
Director: It doesn’t really matter what it is because often the Muppet movies don’t really follow in sequence anyway. They’ve done everything so it could really be anything.
Kermit: I’m personally hoping for Muppets Well rested. That would be really good. Yes… yes.
Q. How difficult was it to work with the constant beauty of Miss Piggy as a distraction on set?
Director: Don’t worry Ricky she can’t reach you!
Kermit: Now you guys know how I feel like all the time!
Ricky: I want Constantine to answer this!
Constantine: I’m sorry I was not paying attention… how was it to work with Pig and her constant beauty?
Piggy: I’m distracting in this press conference even. You can’t take your eyes off me can you boys?
Ricky: Constantine you had to pretend to love her in the movie didn’t you
Constantine: Yes it was my BEST ACTING!
Ricky: I had to help him out after the scene by doing this…. (sticks his tounge down Constantine’s mouth)
Constantine: (Bleergh cough cough) I Knew that was going to come sometimes! Hey Ricky did you have salad for lunch? That’s what it taste like!
Ricky: I’d love to do that with real mates.
Q. Ricky you’ve worked with a lot of the leading actresses in Hollywood, how does Piggy compare?
Ricky: She’s a bigger diva and I think she won’t mind me saying that she takes it as a compliment. That she talk about herself all the time!
Piggy: Not all the time, if other people are talking about me I’ll be quiet
Ricky: (puts on Miss Piggy voice) “Oh Kermy.. does this dress make me look fat?” No Piggy all the pies do.
Q. Who Inspired you guys growing up?
Kermit: I think for me it was probably the great American actor Walter Brenan. Nobody has a clue who I’m talking about. But I was inspired by so many people. I had great grandparents. Old frogs are great. I’m struggling for an answer here. Help me Ricky give me something funny
Constantine: There is great safe cracker named Thomas the knuckle O’Brian there explosive expert he is Thomas the toenail Lewis.
Ricky: You love Al Pacino too don’t you. Do your impression of him
Contastine: Oh I love Al pacinos. I do his famous line for movie. (puts on weird voice that sound nothing like Al Pacion) “Oh I am Al Pacinos from the Godfather movies I go outside and then I gotta get back inside”.
Kermit: I think that was more cappuccino than Al Pacino.
Piggy: Well Moi is an inspiration to everyone of course and even to me myself. Before I go on stage or on camera I always just look in the mirror.
Kermit: Then look the other way very quickly and just keep on going!
Q. Did you really film at the Tower of London?
Director: Famously you’re not allowed to film in the Tower of London and they’ve turned down everyone who’s asked to film there before. But suddenly you turn up with Muppets and ask for favour people change their minds. So we actually got to film there for three or four days which was amazing. So maybe someone in the royal family is a big Muppets fan.
Piggy: I had to sign so many autographs!
Q. Ricky you had a cameo in the last Muppets movie cut, were you surprised to be asked back?
Constantine: this will be a good time for Ricky and the director to hash this out.
Ricky: It wasn’t really a role it was me and Billy Crystal turning up as ourselves. The host of the Oscars and the Golden Globes. But James told me and I agreed that you can’t put it in there just because you filmed it. They film about 4 hours of this to cut down.
Kermit: the Good thing about our director James is he tells you that before you shoot the scene. We’re not going to use this but please come by.
Q. Ricky given your newfound friendship with Constantine have you thought about planning an idiot abroud special with him and Karl?
Ricky: I see a lot of similarities. Little round head and up there is where the brain would be if the head didn’t stop. I’d do anything with Constantine. I would travel the world wth Constantine.
Constantine: We will not go to France though!
Ricky: No we don’t have to ever go to France, but I would host the Oscars with Constantine
Constantine: Okay let’s make it happen!
Q. Constantine what qualities do you look for in a number 2?
Constantine: This is good question. You must have evil snarl like Ricky Gervais has. You must have opposable thumbs to move things around. Also library card so you can check out books for evil plotting. But you always make sure to return the books; I am evil criminal not disrespectful to library system.
Q. Ty Burrell form Modern Family plays a very French detective in the film what inspired that?
Director: He’s an amalgamation of every French character ever. When you have Sam eagle being a patriotic American you need the Frenchest French person as a foil for him. So I told Ty just to be the most super French person ever, don’t bother about what region of France he comes from. Just do that and it works perfectly well.
Q. Are there any other fictional characters the Muppets would like to team up with?
Kermit: It’s tough because we’re the only ones these days who aren’t computer generated in the fictional world. So they’re not really there. It would be tough to work with them.
Constantine: You could not see them at press conference.
Kermit: If we were those guys here’s what the press conference would be…
(Kermit and Constantine duck down under the table disappearing. Miss Piggy looks around confused).
Piggy: What! I’m real… okay parts of me aren’t real… this nose for instance.
Constantine: Gervais wig isn’t real.
Gervais: That’s an important point actually because I’ve just done Night At the Museum 3 with Ben Stiller and there’s scenes where all the animal comes to life, but they’re not really there. So Ben spent 6 weeks running around talking to a tennis ball on a stick. But with the Muppets your acting with these guys The timing and affection makes a difference.
Constantine: You cannot stick your finger down tennis ball’s throat.
Kermit: You could never host the Oscars with a tennis ball!