The Acceptance Speech:
“Thank you very much. You don’t have to stand on ceremony, you can all leave now. Thank you Sean and thank you Jameson. I hope I’ve had a good time, because I’ve been given to understand that this award is a gentle nudge to go offstage, to just sort of fade away. I think I’m ready – I think a lot of other people are too. But what have I got to lose at this point? There were a lot of other candidates. For this, you can’t send a video, you have to be here. For this (holds up Perspex award) you had to be here. I tried, I couldn’t make the thing work. I kicked the first assistant director’s ass, I told them all to fuck off, I kicked the camera over. Fuck it, I’m here. But the first candidate, full disclosure, was Russell Crowe: he was supposed to get the Icon award and I was supposed to get the best of all time forever, but I graciously said, sure, I’ll trade with you. I think his award was best actor of all time but they had to downgrade the award when he said “I can’t stay, I’ll come for a second.” There’s a lot of pressure at the top. I know that a lot of you guys were probably ‘what the fuck? He just left, right?” I was supposed to go first. But in fairness to all those who were maybe a little disappointed that after regaling us with his unfathomable literary aspirations… he had to go because he had to go tell his driver to take his Maltesers and his shampoo down to the Great Ormond Street hospital NOW! Because he knows a matter of life and death when he sees it.
Let’s talk about Sean Bean. Empire magazine was an early and ardent supporter of Lord of the Rings before it even came out. I’ve been thinking, I don’t know about you, they’re going to try to make more money from it now. They’ve got a Mexican making it now, with Guillermo del Toro, who’s very talented. Now as far as I know we’re not in The Hobbit but they’re going to try and find a way, just for fun. I’m not necessarily against the idea. They may try to link that book to the book we were in. But I was looking at Tolkien’s version of the world. In order to do a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, I’d probably have to be changing Boromir’s diapers because I live longer or whatever.
But seriously, I would like to dedicate this award to a great actor, Alan Howard. I know this is not the right crowd for that, with a few exceptions. I saw Alan Howard more than a quarter of a century ago in a play of Good, the role I play in the movie that’s coming out soon, Good. He was remarkable, mesmerising. I only wish I’d seen him play Henry V, Johann in Scenes From A Marriage. But from what i understand, he’s the sort of actor I really aspire to be: meticulous, professional, who was never in danger of being seduced by flattery or prone to grandstand like I’m doing right now. Unlike his peers and contemporaries like Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen, he never made the transition to fame and fortune in the movie business. But I think that his approach to acting is probably going to be more long-lasting and more valuable in some ways that some of his more celebrated colleagues. He was an actor, through and through, no bullshit, and I admire that. Anyway, enough. I thank you, and I thank Empire.”