Britannia Awards 2011: Host Alan Cumming teases tonight's honoring of Warren Beatty, Ben Stiller, and more

Alan-Cumming

Image Credit: Stephen Lovekin/WireImage.com

Tonight, a somewhat under-the-radar, anti-awards-show awards show takes place at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles: The 2011 Britannia Awards.

They’re different than your typical American kudosfest, largely because it’s the Brits — the Los Angeles wing of BAFTA, specifically — who’re handing them out. And they’re — gasp! — untelevised. Plus, the awards — which are more lifetime achievement in style — are predetermined. This year, Warren Beatty, John Lasseter, David Yates, Helena Bonham Carter, and Ben Stiller are being honored, and presenters include Robin Williams, Anne Hathaway, Helen Mirren, and Jason Isaacs.

And the master of ceremonies? An appropriately unconventional choice: Good Wife star Alan Cumming will be playing host. EW recently caught up with him to talk about why he wanted to host, his style, and why we should care about these awards at all.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What made you want to host the Britannia Awards?
ALAN CUMMING: I’ve done it before — maybe about 10 years ago I did it twice. It’s always been a good laugh, and it’s kind of gotten bigger over the years, as these things tend to do. It’s just a nice thing to do. It’s a link to both my homes, Britain and America. I hosted the year the Stanley Kubrick Award was inaugurated, and his wife came. I’ve got a lot of connections to it. A lot of people I know from when I first came to America to live in L.A. They were members of BAFTA Los Angeles, so keeping it in the family.

Sounds like you have a history with it. There’s no nerves in this, then?
Well, I guess, but there’s always nerves because you don’t really know what’s going to happen until the day of. You don’t get the script and then you’re frantic trying to write jokes and funny things. I always think these things look so glamorous and sophisticated on the outside, but on the inside, it’s like a school play. We’re rushing around at the last minute, trying to get it to work.

What’s your vibe as the host?
A little mischievous. Willing to say the thing that everyone’s thinking but won’t say. Stuff like that.

They’re honoring Warren Beatty, Helena Bonham Carter, John Lasseter, David Yates, and Ben Stiller this year. Are these folks you’ve met before? Or, who are you excited to finally meet in person?
Well, I’ve never met Warren Beatty, but I’m excited to meet him. I’m looking forward to seeing Helena. She’s an old friend. She was actually in the very first film I directed [TV short Butter], years ago. It’s actually nice it’s at this time of year because it’s a bit like Thanksgiving. You go back somewhere and you all gather, and it’s like old friends who you haven’t seen. So, yes, I’m looking forward to seeing those people and a lot of my chums who live in L.A. come out of the woodwork.

Why should the common American entertainment enthusiast care about the Britannia Awards?
For the common man! [Laughs.] I love that. [The Britannia Awards] are not necessarily about current things. So many of these award shows are about what’s selling right now, what is going to be lauded that is on the market right now. Shows and movies often have these huge marketing budgets and know that if they get one, it’ll help with their sales. There’s nothing like that here. It’s all about people who have contributed things over their careers. So it’s less faddy and markety and less current, and more about celebrating these people for what they’ve done over their entire lives. That’s nice. There aren’t that many award shows that are dedicated to just that kind of thing. Sometimes there are a couple awards amidst all the best actor, best picture things. It’s an appreciation of people’s entire bodies of work. You can’t really campaign this one. It doesn’t matter how big your budget is — it’s not going to help you get an award.

In terms of award shows, do you have a favorite host of all time?
I did love Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes. I just thought he was fantastic. These things are so stuffy. There’s so much emotion and sentiment and indulgence, no matter what you do. So I think it’s good to have a host that’s going to counter that. That’s what I prefer and what I like.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Read more:
Exclusive: ‘Good Wife’ promotes Alan Cumming to series regular


Latest Videos in Movies

Advertisement

From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP