In the Public Eye

More from the Evening Standard Film Awards - page 2
London, February 6, 2005

Red Carpet Arrivals

Inside the Odeon Leicester Square

The Show

The Telegraph's Spy column disclosed...Why Firth missed cue

Timing is of the essence for any leading actor. So Spy was amused to see Colin Firth miss his cue at the Evening Standard British Film Awards on Sunday night.The dashing Bridget Jones star was there to present the Alexander Walker Special Award at the end of the glittering ceremony at the Savoy...

However, after Firth had been introduced by comedian Jack Dee and welcomed with rapturous applause, he was nowhere to be seen, and a second take was required.

"I don't think it was my fault," he told me afterwards. "And no, I wasn't in the toilet - I don't quite know what happened."

Perhaps Dee's mention of the notorious "white shirt" put him off, I suggest.

"I accept that, as an actor, you get boxed into a certain stereotype," he sighed. "But I'm certainly not going to turn down costume dramas because of it. I don't think you can let wardrobe dictate your roles."

Transcription, exclusive for firth.com by Agent Baby's mother, with screen caps by Lorna, Janet and Susan
Jack Dee: Next up is the Alexander Walker award. To tell us more, one of our most dashing leading men soon to be seen in Nanny McPhee with Emma Thompson and Atom Egoyan's Where the Truth Lies. Steady ladies... it's Colin Firth.  Big cheers, a smiling Colin gets up. Voiceover lists his films, ending with 'and of course Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.'

Colin: When you've seen these two men at 3 o'clock in the morning, or if you've seen one of them hastily undress in order to donate some rather stylish items of clothing to a panic-stricken actor seconds before a television appearance, or the other, after many sleepless months of recent fatherhood, concealing an agony of fatigue and managing to be absolutely charming about your performance, then you realise that the agony of fatigue is probably because of your performance, and when you wish you'd accepted their offer of a lift as you watch their helicopter fly over your 30-mile traffic jam, when you witness extraordinary dignity in the face of a bitter Scrabble disappointment, when you've seen such things, something within you warms to them.

But in the midst of these various acts of wanton genorosity, you tend to forget that these two men carry a disproportionate share of responsibilty for a revived British film industry, for the wave of quality film making on both sides of the Atlantic [pause] and for my career. [pause for laughter, he gets it.]

Now.. a casual glance at their body of work will show you one or two ropey films, an improbable number of excellent films, and a fair number which could be considered genuine classics. I think with credentials like these we can forgive them for Hugh Grant...

and recognize that their contribution [continued laughter], that their contribution to the British film industry is unparalleled. I would like to rest my case on this piece of film.

[Clips shown:Sid and Nancy, Wish You Were Here, Four Weddings, Elizabeth, Notting Hill, Billy Elliot, Bridget Jones fight scene, Love Actually, and Inside I'm Dancing. Then a montage ending with Ali G saying 'This is good shit'. Applause. Shot of  Kim Cattrall in audience drooling.]

The Alexander Walker Special Award for contribution to the British film industry, ladies and gentlemen, goes to the richest, nice people in the business, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title Films.

More to come

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