by Hans ten Cate
Wednesday, 20 August 1997

Terry Gilliam, expecting to walk up just once to receive the Empire Inspiration Award, also won an award that evening in the category of Best Director. Much to the surprise of Terry Gilliam. "I was genuinely surprised," said Gilliam, "It was only at the very last moment that I realized that myself and 12 Monkeys were included, so I thought it was going to be one of the good directors. This says something about the Empire readership, that they lack good taste!"

The award was presented by British pub-rock veteran Ian Dury who delivered the verdict in poetry:

"Exploring every avenue of life on the honeysuckle highway,
Eschewing every vestige of regret, we gaily slip along,
Displaying all the evidence of mirth on the daffodilic byway,
And needing no excuse to have a laugh 'cause we're doing nothing wrong,
You want magic. You can't hide it.
You want daydream. You're inside it.
You want mystery. It will find you.
There's a moonbeam right behind you... Terry Gilliam."

Gilliam joined director Danny Boyle, who won Best British Director that evening. This fact did not go unnoticed by Gilliam, who has lived in England since the late 1960s. "I thought I was a British director," he grumbled. "I don't understand this second class award. I wanted to be in competition with Richard [Loncraine] and Danny [Boyle] and everybody else- no! I get these loser Americans to fight against. This is a surprise. I came here for another award and I got this thing. Thanks." Terry was, nevertheless, up against some tough competition: Michael Mann (Heat), Joel Coen (Fargo), and David Fincher (Seven).

Terry Jones, ever the optimist, remarked afterwards that "I was pretty shocked that Terry won, but I suppose people voted for it." Gilliam, who must have been within earshot, took the whole thing in stride and responded modestly that "I felt there were a number of other directors like Terry Jones who weren't even nominated, which I felt embarrassed about."