The 76-year-old actor was presented with the prestigious honour by his close friend and frequent collaborator Sir Ian McKellen, at a ceremony at London’s Roundhouse and Ian joked that the evening was finally “beginning to make sense” when he got a standing ovation.
He said: “At last! The evening is beginning to make some sense! Why would you call Patrick a legend? Bless him, he was born in Yorkshire! The range of his work is so gratifying and enviable. I’m trying to be serious here…He’s one of my heroes for the way he stands up for his causes. He’s the actor that people of my generation would like to be…but don’t you love my hair?”
Patrick then began his acceptance speech by quoting the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
He said: “To quote Nietzsche, ‘Success is an imposter. It conceals the flaw, the wound, the fundamental doubt at the core of the artist’s being’. Well I only quoted that because I want to go down in history as the only actor who quoted Nietzsche at an awards ceremony.
“Nevertheless, Mr Nietzsche, you are sometimes right, but not tonight. I don’t feel a fraud, I don’t feel misunderstood, I feel very proud and immensely happy, particularly to be sharing the stage with my friend, my brother Ian.
“Thank you, Empire Awards, for a wonderful evening. Thank you.”
Earlier Dame Joan Collins took to the stage to present Best Film to ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ director and star Gareth Edwards and Felicity Jones.
With Felicity standing behind him, Gareth joked: “Felicity couldn’t be here tonight. But she sent a message. I’d like to thank Gareth, who is the best director in the world… See, this is the thing, you never get the chance to come up with any material! We genuinely didn’t expect to win!”
Felicity added: “I’d just like to say: Dame Joan Collins.”
Felicity won Best Actress for the same movie and Dan Stevens introduced her by saying: “And the award for the best performance without a penis, in heels, paid slightly less than their male counterparts, goes to Felicity Jones!”
After laughing and saying, “What an introduction,” Felicity said: “Thank you very much for this. Empire have been such a huge magazine in my life for so many years. It means a huge amount to get this.”
And Gareth also took home Best Director, saying: “Jesus, I really wasn’t expecting this! This is not the first time we’ve infiltrated the Empire and caused an upset. I feel really bad that I’ve cancelled my Empire subscription now.”
Eddie Redmayne won Best Actor for ‘Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them’ and accepted his award with a video message.
He said: “Gutted I can’t be with you this evening, particularly as the Empire awards is renowned for being the most debauched evening. If it’s not going like that, maybe drink more. I will take this back to Leavesden and it will galvanise use as we move into the second film. I will keep this shiny object away from the Niffler.”
Tom Hiddleston won the Empire Hero award, which was presented by his ‘The Night Manager co-star Hugh Laurie.
Tom said: “They say never meet your heroes. I’m lucky enough that I wouldn’t be standing here if I hadn’t met mine. I’ve been lucky enough to work with them.
And if I haven’t worked with them, I’ve attempted an impersonation of them on the Graham Norton show.”
The pair later returned to the stage to accept the award for Best TV Series for ‘The Night Manager’.
Tom said: “Thank you to absent friends and mentioned Olivia Colman, “who is never around when she wins awards. Which is very cool.”
And Luc Besson won the Empire Inspiration Award, joking that he was thrilled that one magazine likes him.
He said: “I’m not used to receiving awards. The last one was in ’72 at the swimming pool. Why did you have to wait until Brexit to honour a Frenchman? You know, all the French magazines hate me, so it’s nice to know one magazine likes me!”
Full list of winners:
Empire Hero presented by Three: Tom Hiddleston
Empire Inspiration Award: Luc Besson
Empire Legend Award: Sir Patrick Stewart
Best Male Newcomer – presented by Pure Organic: Dave Johns, (‘I, Daniel Blake’)
Best Female Newcomer – presented by The London Hilton on Park Lane: Anya Taylor-Joy (‘The Witch’)
Best Sci-fi/Fantasy – presented by Three: ‘A Monster Calls’
Best Comedy – presented by Absolute Radio: ‘The Greasy Strangler’
Best Horror – presented by Monkey Shoulder: ‘The Witch’
Best Thriller – presented by MCM Comic con: ‘Jason Bourne’
Best British Film – presented by The Hollywood Reporter: ‘I, Daniel Blake’
Best Actor – presented by Three: Eddie Redmayne (‘Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them’)
Best Actress – presented by Three: Felicity Jones (‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’)
Best Director – presented by VUE entertainment: Gareth Edwards (‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’)
Best Film – presented by Sky Cinema: ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’
Best TV Series – presented by Magic Radio: ‘The Night Manager’
Best Documentary – presented by Green Tomato cars: ‘Supersonic’
Best Screenplay: ‘Deadpool’
Best Animated Film: ‘Finding Dory’
Best Soundtrack: ‘La La Land’
Best Costume Design: ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’
Best Make-Up and Hairstyling: ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’
Best Short Film: ‘Disney’s Inner Workings’
Best Visual Effects – presented by Vue Entertainment: ‘Doctor Strange’