Greetings from the new page, the place in which we pretend to have some kind of exclusive access to the glitzy doorstep of Hollywood. The first entry in this masturbatory series is a rather belated report on the not-quite-the-baftas ceremony that was the EMPIRE FILM AWARDS 2008. So over to our local hero, star of Shane Meadows latest hit This Is England, KIERAN HARDCASTLE (aka the skinhead one in white jeans who don’t say much) for all the insider goss and cheeky schoolboy blaggery…
My First Awards Ceremony.
The Empire Awards 2008
How to begin…? The start I guess…
…Ok, so celebrating the success of This is England winning the Best British Film BAFTA, Warp Films rang around a whole bunch of people to come up to Sheffield for pretty much ‘A Fat Piss Up’. That was a pretty good night right there alone.
But Talking to Jo Hartley (Cynthia Fields) and Roz Hanson (Smell), I discovered that they had tickets for ‘The Empire Awards’ just days away. Trying not to hide my jealousy, I asked Roz what chances there were of me being able to blag my way along an’ all. All she could do really was give me the phone number of the lady organising the event, and I’d just try my chances.
So with little hope, I got on the blower, explained I was in the flick and that (obviously trying to make myself sound as important as possible) and pretty much asked if I could come. To which she replied, “Can you phone me back?”.
After spending a good hour or two twiddling my thumbs with anticipation, I made the call, not really expecting great outcomes if I’m honest. But sure enough, there had been someone drop out that day, leaving one ticket for the event available! Like it was destiny or some shit!
This is the story of my first ever awards ceremony.
The morning of the event I was fannying around all over the place not really knowing how I was going to get there, times, places, anything. It really was a case of get a shower and grab some black jeans, shoes, shirt etc, jump on a bus, pay a fortune for the train, hop on the underground, run like hell down Park Lane, and suddenly I’m standing at the foot of a very, very daunting Red Carpet.
The Event itself was held at The Grosvenor House Hotel, which seemed to be more than equipped to handle the crowds and media gathered around outside, its fine for me to say ‘its the bollocks’.
Now this is the part where it all went far too fast for me, and will always be remembered as some kind of blur. There’s gotta have been at least 300-400 people gathering behind those railings along the carpet, all snapping pictures, screaming out crazy stuff, or mesmerized as the stars pull up in tonk, flash cars outside. I felt so intimidated at the situation, having to make that bold walk up infront of everyone, no one really knowing who I am. Like I say, its all a flash when I think back to that moment now. The one thing that did understandably stick out for me though, was a sudden load of commotion half way up, people going ape shit in front of my face. I turned to my right, and little but a couple of feet away stood Matt Damon. I know, it took me a second too.
At the end of the carpet, Andrew Shim (Milky, Romeo Brass) and Vicky McClure (Lol) were waiting to enter the building. It was reassuring to speak to familiar faces.
Vicky had to wait a couple moments for her ticket to come through or something, so whilst that was happening, we all stood just inside in a corridor, trying very hard to hide the feeling of being star-struck. Not that easy when Ewan McGregor and James McAvoy turn up next. (Who both went on to win major awards by the way, ‘The Empire Icon Award’ and ‘The Best Actor Award’ respectively).
We then walked into the main lobby area, where expensive drinks were being chucked about like piss pots, and I straight away noticed Jim Broadbent looking on this screen for his table number. Vicky and Shimy were chatting away with this quite animated geezer, so naturally I stood by their side trying to look like I actually had friends. Looking around the room, I couldn’t help but think how much time people had spent preparing themselves for this evening, manicures, shopping expeditions, whatever, and I’d just slapped on me ‘ode black shirt (which I didn’t even have time to iron!) and gave it a couple squirts of aftershave.
The main room where the awards were actually taking place looked an absolute picture. Things like the lighting of the room, and the arrangement of the glasses and cutlery on the tables, had all been set to absolute perfection. On every seat were these ‘Goody Bags’ filled with so much expensive shit, most notably DVDs and Blue-Rays. If there were 9 people to every table, and about 45 tables in total, then that’s a lot of money spent just for people to have a goody bag of stuff not everyone is even gonna use. I can’t imagine Guillermo Del Toro is gonna use his ‘Fudge – Hair Gel’ or spend time listening to the random bunch of film soundtracks contained. (I myself haven’t gorra PS3 or anything so therefore shall be flogging my Blue-rays, ‘Talladega Nights’, some Japanese animation business, & ‘Hostel part 2’ if anyone’s interested). Anyway I walked through the room, passed Martin Freeman and Phil Jupitus, to receive a really warm welcome from the This Is England Table.
After subtly affirming my reason for being at the awards, a voice overhead signalled everyone to go to their seats as the ceremony was due to begin.
Now I didn’t mention this previously, but when the lady I spoke to on the phone said I could come, she did tell me that I wouldn’t be sat on the This Is England table as it was completely full. Obviously I was just thrilled to be attending and knew for the actual awards themselves I’d be sat nearer to the back. (Shane said to me though that if we won I could mission through the room onto the stage with them all.)
So making my way in to the darker depths of the room, I quickly noticed that the loud, badboys of the bash, were the congregation on the Hot Fuzz table. (That continued as they deservedly won the first award of the night – ‘Best Comedy’).
I sat down to a table of complete strangers, all looking very shifty. It isn’t like me to stay quiet though wherever I am, so straight away said hello to the gentleman to my right. He looked me up and down, and said “Who are you with?”. What table was I sat on, the Mafia or something..? He tried to justify himself as I was clearly very confused, “Who do you work for?” To which I replied, “Well anyone who will fucking have me really mate! I’m an actor”. At this point he changed completely and asked why I was sat back with them. This boys and girls, was the Press table.
It really was quite interesting to see how they responded to each other, I’m guessing they all know each other because they’re always at the same events and stuff, but are all in direct competition with one another.
The awards got underway, as Rob Brydon got things kicked off in a good fashion, and in all honesty did a remarkable job all night in my opinion, some of his later gags did make me genuinely laugh out loud as apposed to the uncomfortable forced laughs I found myself giving a couple of the award presenters.
A montage of films showing the highlights of the last 12 months followed, to which the room suddenly started to thrive.
‘The League of Gentlemen boys’ presented the first award, best comedy, and Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost all went up to collect.
I really enjoyed the show throughout, and obviously once the ‘Best British Film’ award had been announced (presented by Harry Potter’s Emma Watson) I started to knock back the free drinks. I’d purposely not had anything before then, in case we won and I wouldn’t embarrass myself on stage at all, but sadly we lost out to Atonement.
Brydon’s gags kept entertaining all, but by far the most notable moment of hilarity was when James Corden of (Gavin and Stacey and History Boys) presented The Best Actress Award. He unfortunately couldn’t present the award to the winner Keira Knightley, as she wasn’t there, due to Corden “shagging her so hard for the last week, she was exhausted”.
The other awards for specific film genres didn’t really get as many big names turning up to the event as I had hoped for. Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo walked up to collect the ‘Best Horror’ gong for his 28 Weeks Later, American Gangster won ‘Best thriller’, and Stardust claimed ‘Best Sci-fi/Fantasy’. Writer/director Matthew Vaughn accepted the award. So no Robert Carlisle, Ridley, Russell, Denzel, Pfeiffer, or Robert De Niro then. As magical as it all was for me, to them It is after all just the Empire awards.
I guess there are positives for me though that ‘Bobby D.N.’ wasn’t there. I can’t honestly imagine what I would have done if he had of been. Whether it be ‘asking him for a photo’, or ‘running over and pulling his pants down on the spot, changing my sexuality, it saved me from a restraining order.
David Yates beats a whole host of top guys to take ‘Best Director’ for ‘Arry Potta 5’, But it’s the award after that that I think was the most heart warming of the night. Fair play T.I.E. didn’t win anything here, but Shane Meadows did, ‘Outstanding contribution to British film’. Paddy presented him with a sweet intro, Shane hugged him and then gave a bang-on speech. Because if you think about it, he must have had no clue he personally was even nominated for something never mind set to win it. It’s just a shame that when the awards were shown on Tele, his whole speech was cut out almost.
The only other award that I was slightly biased on was ‘The Best Newcomer’. Despite Tomo (Thomas Turgoose, Shaun in T.I.E) receiving the best reaction crowd wise when the nominations were shown, sadly it wasn’t to be for him either. At the end of the show, I went straight over to him, and he told me he was naturally a bit gutted and stuff, but Sam Riley (The winner for his performance in Control) didn’t hesitate to come over and tell him how much he enjoyed what he did in This is England. Then after speaking to Sam myself for a while, I can honestly say that there isn’t a nicer, more genuine person in that entire room. He even said how good it’d be to for me and him to work together one day! But in regards to the award, I said this to Tomo straight away, but I do truly believe his award was by far the hardest to judge. Sam Riley did give a knock out portrayal of Ian Curtis, Shia LaBeouf smashed transformers and is starring alongside Harrison Ford in the New Indiana Jones Flick, and that young girl in Atonement is a real special talent. I just found out that aswell as her being only 13, She’s got a thick Irish accent too!
The last award of the night was for ‘The Best Film’. Rob Brydon’s introduction for Jason Isaacs to come on and present made me giggle.
“Not only has Jason passed the British Actor initiation test by being in the Harry Potter Films, he’s also the 2nd biggest villain in them, directly behind Puberty.”
Sure Enough team Bourne won something at last, but I did hear the reporter guys on my table say that Matt Damon wouldn’t have bothered even turning up if he’d have known he was going to lose out to James McAvoy for the best actor award.
Once the Ceremony ended and that, I went to the pisser with Tomo and his dad Rob. Jonathan Ross was stood in there chatting to some guy, but he made a huge fuss of Tomo when we walked in. It took them about 5 minutes to realise that they still hadn’t been for a piss.
I didn’t even know we were going to get an evening meal, so you can imagine my face when suddenly everyone rushed back to their tables for 3 courses of the pengest most expensive grub. I munched through my Lamb so quick that the guy from Sky News pretty much said I was welcome to his too as he wasn’t hungry.
After dinner, I was failing miserably to play swopsies with the DVDs in my Goody-Bag, and it was when I was making my way around the room I couldn’t help notice Paul Greengrass (Director of Bourne Ultimatum) had seemed to neglect his altogether. Now I’m not usually the thieving kind, but I saw his Pan’s Labyrinth had come all the way out of his bag and onto the floor in between tables. ‘Well if you ain’t gonna watch it Paul then I certainly well will!’
Bumped into Toby Kebbell (who was there with the Control lot), and had a good catch-up with a fellow ex-workshopper. He asked me if I was coming out for a fag with him, and even though I’ve quit smoking, I saw it as another possible networker and did so. I was wrong. It wasn’t. Even still I did tell Toby how much I wanted to meet Paddy, and completely forgetting he was in Dead Man’s Shoes with him he said he’d introduce me to him. Now I’m not bullshitting here, I’d rather have met Paddy Considine than anyone else in that building. He is someone whose performances I rave about more and more every time I see him, and is a highlighted reason of why I want to be in the industry myself. It seems that every other opportunity I could have had to meet him in the past didn’t happen for what ever reason. So sure enough when we went back inside Toby made the motion and I finally met one of my top 10 worldwide Idols.
As the event itself drew to a close, there was the exciting prospect of the after party at another venue. Jumped in a lovely chauffeur driven car with Tomo and Rob, and pulled up almost just round the corner on Oxford street. I predicted that most of the people that were going to be here would only be for one sole reason, To Network. I guess I was right in many respects, though saying that a good few big guns still turned up.
Now I was hesitant to right this next bit, but I think I’d be doing the night an injustice if I didn’t. I’d mentioned to my good friend Jack Curtis the day before that I was going down, and basically me and him have a history of ‘blagging’ our way into stuff. Now this was a ticket only affair, and when I say ticket, I mean it might aswell have been a contender for artwork of the year, not quite the tacky nightclub stub or University Wristband we’re used to forging. Smooth talking would be pointless.
But, Jack being Jack got to work on replicating another two tickets for himself and another mate Alex (who lives in London and was letting us crash at his that night) and was ready to give it a bash. Just before we went in I met up with him, wished him and Alex luck. Sure enough there were no questions asked.
The rest of the night gradually started to turn into three very mischievous boys let loose in a London playground… largely due to the never ending free bar, the potential piss-takes, and us stumbling across the remainder of the ‘Olivier Awards’ back at the Grosvenor House. I did however manage to have a nice chat with Jonas Armstrong (Robin Hood in the hit BBC series), and Jack approached Emma Watson with a camera, only to ask her if she’d mind taking a photo of himself and Alex!
All in all a night to remember, and as far as memories go, this one will always be pretty special to me. My first awards ceremony yes, but I now hope it isn’t to be my last.
Thank you for reading.