Film4.com editor Catherine Bray reports from the press room at a major awards ceremony
Last night was the Empire Jameson Awards, or possibly the Jameson Empire Awards, and frankly if they want people to remember which way around it goes, the title sponsor’s product probably shouldn’t be made quite so liberally available, with the afterparty boasting film-themed cocktails including War Mule, Tinker Tailor Soldier Sour and Attack The Rocks. Because if there’s one thing film journalists like even more than a cocktail, it’s rubbish puns.
Before the party came the very serious business of the awards themselves. Lest you run away with the notion that running Film4.com is a glamorous gig, let me set the scene for you: a beautiful dining hall. Dozens of tables. Assembled A-listers ranging from Gary Oldman to Danny De Vito. The suits are sharp, the gowns are fabulous. Empire’s Chris Hewitt and presenter Lauren Laverne are the hosts with the mosts. And in another part of the building, a rather smaller room contains a pungent mix of assorted bloggers, photographers and at least one man who I don’t believe was anything to do with the awards, but had figured out that if you hung about with a massive camera around your neck you might get a free prawn mayo sandwich. Welcome to the press room. Remember in Titanic when the poor people are locked below decks while (spoiler) the ship sinks? If an iceberg should strike London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, that’s pretty much the scenario with the press room.
My job was to interview the award-winners with whom Film4 have worked over the past twelve months: Damon Beesley (The Inbetweeners), Tom Hiddleston (The Deep Blue Sea), Iain Morris (The Inbetweeners), Michael Fassbender (Shame), Joe Thomas (The Inbetweeners), Ben Wheatley (Kill List), and also Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd, Bridesmaids), who to be honest Film4 haven’t worked with in the past twelve months but who is always such a complete joy to meet that I requested an interview anyway. In this instance, I got an impromptu joint interview with Chris and Tom Hiddleston. Of the almost ten minutes of this interview, a good five is Chris and Tom chatting about Avatar, with two main results: one, I now believe the two of them should be booked immediately to front a film review show and two, I’m not really sure what to do with the interview, other than maybe pitch it to an Avatar fansite. (Chris’s final verdict: “It’s about some men who burn down a tree.”)
Other than being voted for by the public, one of the main advantages Empire’s awards have over – say – the Oscars (apart from Chris O’Dowd and Tom Hiddleston over-analysing Avatar in the press room) is that the awards categories make room for the types of films that don’t get a look in at more traditional ceremonies. Independent movies, horror, comedy: they are all well-represented here, and this year, Film4 films took both Best Horror for Ben Wheatley’s Kill List, and Best Comedy for The Inbetweeners. Michael Fassbender, who starred in Film4′s Shame, was honoured with the Empire Hero award, while Olivia Colman was awarded Best Actress for her brilliant performance in Film4′s Tyrannosaur. Congratulations to all the winners, and roll on the next Empire Jameson Awards. Or possibly the Jameson Empire Awards. Whatever – they’re great.