by Hans ten Cate
Wednesday, 20 August 1997

Here is an excerpt from Maggie Weston's (Terry Gilliam's wife) diary on the day of the Empire Awards. Both Maggie and Terry have come close to winning Oscars. Let's hope we see a similar diary entry from Maggie the next time one of the Gilliams goes up to accept a coveted Oscar statue!

5 March 1997

  • Lunch at the Park Lane Hotel to celebrate the Empire Awards in association with Miller Genuine Draft - hope it's not all beer!
  • 8:30 am Drop Harry at school and wake Michael on the way home, a very bleary-eyed hair dresser and no hot water.
  • What to wear? Gray suit, if it's good enough for Saga's funeral... Seems like a bit of a funeral when our favorite alternative, archaic heroes start accepting respectable awards - I guess it goes with having an accountant.
  • Naturally the car is waiting and Terry doesn't want to go but I'm dressed and it's Wednesday morning and he did say he would so we depart looking suitably middle-aged. Frankly, it's a bunch of kids who run Empire Magazine.
  • Nice place Park Lane Hotel, but please note it is NOT located on Park Lane so it could be difficult to find if you're a foreigner or a mini-cab driver. We are greeted at the door by heaps of photographers and loads of champagne. So where's the beer?
  • Terry disappears into the crowd, says he must find Terry Jones who is already there. I spot Lucy Darwin who worked on 12 Monkeys together with Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe, here to promote "The Hamster Factor". They have just stepped off a plane and are "asleep star-struck zombies".
  • Get to table 7 (as directed) so just who am I having lunch with - Palin, Jones, Gilliam (well, I came with him), Keith, Polly, Ann, Anne, David Furnish and Elton John - he is there to present the Inspiration Award to the gang. Lots to talk about, great table.
  • Awards presentation - I think we were pretending it was night. The lights were dimmed and the candles lit.
  • Best Director - Terry Gilliam for 12 Monkeys - That took him by surprise. Ian Dury makes the presentation and recites a lovely poem.
  • Elton is on stage last to introduce the Pythons and present their award. Eric is on film from L.A. with his "Alzheimers" we are all crying with laughter. John also on film from L.A. follows with an equally funny speech. How will Michael P. follow this on stage? Well he does and it is clear that even great age and the fact that Graham Chapman is already dead (and probably some of the rest of them) is an excuse to try to be straight and staid and boring - NO CHANCE!
  • Standing Ovation - Lunch, lovely buffet, lousy wine - Cotes Du Ventoux 1995.
  • Home 5:00 to children with homework yuck! Glad I went. Lots of fun. Well done Python and especially T.G. THE BEST DIRECTOR.