The best films and filmmakers of the past year, as voted for by readers of Empire magazine and film fans around the globe, were honoured last night at the 20th Jameson Empire Awards.
The big winner of the evening, taking the awards for Best Director, sponsored by Air New Zealand, and Best Film, presented by Viber, was Interstellar, whose director Christopher Nolan was also honoured with the prestigious Empire Inspiration award, presented to him by Interstellar actress and two-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain. Star of Man of Steel and the forthcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, both produced by Nolan,Henry Cavill presented the Best Director award, while Kit Harington and Peter Firth, stars of Spooks: The Greater Good, presented the Best Film award.
Two further special awards were presented by Empire magazine: Empire Hero and Empire Legend. Marking the first time an Empire Award has gone to a TV show, the cast of HBO’s Game of Thrones received the Empire Hero Award in celebration of the popularity of the epic series, about to return to screens for a fifth season and largely shot in Northern Ireland. Last year’s Empire Hero Simon Pegg presented the award to an array of Game of Thrones stars, including Kit Harington, Liam Cunningham, Indira Varma, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Isaac Hempstead Wright. As previously announced, Empire Legend, presented by Jameson Irish Whiskey, went to award-winning actor-director Ralph Fiennes, who received his award fromLiam Neeson.
More British actors triumphed in the acting categories, as voted for by Empire readers and film fans, with Andy Serkis picking up Jameson Best Actor for his role as Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, presented to him by Bond star Olga Kurylenko. Best Actress, presented by Max Factor, went to Gone Girl star Rosamund Pike, who submitted a charming acceptance video for the event. The newcomer categories recognised rising British stars, with Karen Gillan collecting Best Female Newcomer, presented by Max Factor, for her roles in both Guardians of the Galaxy and Oculus and Taron Egerton, star of Kingsman: The Secret Service, named Best Male Newcomer.
Kingsman: The Secret Service joined Interstellar as the second film to receive two awards voted for by the public, taking the award for Best British Film,presented by The Hollywood Reporter. Stars Mark Strong, Sophie Cookson and Sofia Boutella joined writer Jane Goldman and original comic-book creators Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar to collect the award from James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe, co-stars in the forthcoming Victor Frankenstein.
Further British films to be honoured at the event included box-office hits The Imitation Game, awarded Best Thriller, presented by Corinthia HotelLondon, and Paddington, which took Best Comedy, presented by Absolute Radio. Co-stars Mark Strong and Alex Lawther collected for The Imitation Game, while Peter Capaldi, director Paul King and Karen Jankel, daughter of Paddington author Michael Bond, were presented with the Best Comedy award by Toast of London star Matt Berry.
Continuing to recognise the diverse tastes of cinema-goers, two further awards dedicated to popular genres were bestowed. Best Horror, presented by Vue Cinema, went to Australian cult movie The Babadook. Best Sci-Fi/ Fantasy, sponsored by MediCinema, was awarded to X-Men: Days of Future Past and collected by star of the film (and last year’s Jameson Best Actor) James McAvoy.
A remake of the cult classic Ghostbusters was awarded the annual Jameson Empire Done in 60 Seconds short film award, presented to its directors Oliver Jones and Robert Kenyon by jury member Edith Bowman. A total of 355 contestants from nine countries submitted a 60-second remake of their favourite film to enter this year’s competition, four of which were then short-listed to screen during the awards. The entries were judged by a panel of film experts including, Edith Bowman, Ben Wheatley, Jon S. Baird, Nira Park, and Paul Keenan, CEO of Bauer Media, owners of Empire Magazine. All 2015 entries and finalists are available to watch on the Jameson YouTube channel: youtube.com/jamesonempirediss.
James Nesbitt hosted the 20th annual Jameson Empire Awards, which were once again held at Grosvenor House, a JE Marriott Hotel, in Park Lane in the heart of London’s Mayfair. In attendance at the awards were nominees, presenters and other distinguished guests from the entertainment world, including: Christopher Nolan; Jessica Chastain; Ralph Fiennes; Liam Neeson; Henry Cavill; Andy Serkis; Peter Capaldi; James McAvoy;Daniel Radcliffe; Hayley Atwell; Jason Isaacs; Gemma Chan; Mark Strong; Olga Kurylenko; Simon Pegg; Kit Harington; Simon Bird; Blake Harrison; Karen Gillan; Matt Berry; Reece Shearsmith; Robert Sheehan; Jane Goldman; Jonathan Ross; Antonia Thomas; Ben Wheatley;Jon S. Baird; Freddie Highmore; Eleanor Matsuura; Paul King; Sophie Cookson; Liam Cunningham; Isaac Hempstead–Wright; Thomas Brodie-Sangster; Dean-Charles Chapman; Indira Varma; Ian Hislop; Edith Bowman.
Empire editor-in-chief Morgan Rees concludes: “It was a pleasure and an honour to witness another triumphant evening at Grosvenor House. It’s an Awards show where the winners are selected by true cinema fans, and where the movie stars and filmmakers can relax a little and really enjoy themselves. Mixing Christopher Nolan, Ralph Fiennes and Game of Thrones into one evening proved to be a particularly heady celebrity cocktail.”