– . – BIFA 2008
Earlier, back in the sweaty Press cage, Danny Boyle, buoyant from his cleaning up with SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, holds court with a handful of us gagging-for-copy print journalists. “The problem is, of course, actors being actors they don’t age as quickly as the rest of us for some extraordinary reason. It’s that Dorian Gray phenomena—or whether its moisturizer in the evening and spas at the weekend I don’t know, but somehow they seem to keep their youth for longer than they should…” I detect a sense of bitterness there but it doesn’t matter because I know exactly what he means and I feel like I’m part of it now. I belong. These are my people. My beautiful people.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before any of this, there’s the confession: I’ve never done one of these before. There. I’ve said it. I’m an imposter: this is my first awards ceremony. But now I’m in the thick of it; there’s no doubting that. A day ago I was fretting about what to wear. The invitation had read ‘dress to party’ but the last party I went to was in 2002 and I’d come as an orc. So I call the organisers, pretend I’m someone else, and ask just what the hell dress to party actually means and apparently it just means dress to party, so I spend the rest of the day trawling around TK Maxx and Topman because I know how to pull out the stops when I’m up against it.
Tonight I rent out HAPPY-GO-LUCKY and curse myself for not having seen SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE but it doesn’t matter because everyone knows HUNGER is gonna clean up. Tomorrow someone will ask Danny what he’s been working on since SLUMDOG, and he’ll say, “You always think, ‘Oh, I’ll have loads of times to work on stuff,’ but you don’t, you just end up talking all day and then all you want to do is go to bed in the evening full of self-disgust at the sound of your own voice.” And I’ll know exactly what he means but I don’t know that yet and I feel alone lying in my bed muttering questions to an ebullient Steve McQueen in my head and I’m loathing the noise that’s coming out of my mouth.
Time fast forwards and I’m walking along a cold London street and I pass by that Daniel Mays from VERA DRAKE and ATONEMENT loitering in a shadowy alcove, smoking a cigarette, then I skirt past Sam Neill on his mobile telephone, and I know I must be getting closer. Finally inside and I try not to grit my teeth as the girl at the back door hands over my glorious Press Pass and I hang it around my neck like I’ve just been knighted or something and confidently stride in. Right away there’s some good looking guy who also has a Press Pass in front of me and I notice that his says VIP Press Pass, whatever the hell that means, and I wanna punch him in the mouth, but I don’t. Instead, I sneer at him and waltz over to the red carpet looking like I belong and remove a shiny silver Canon Ixus from my jacket pocket and hover at the edge of the TV reporters and gathering paparazzi. Strictly speaking I’ve only got access to the Press Room, but nobody seems to notice me.