Mission: Impossible star Tom Cruise joked Lady Luck has been on his side as he accepted a lifetime achievement award.
The Hollywood actor received the Legend of our Lifetime gong from his Jack Reacher co-star Rosamund Pike at the 2014 Empire Awards in London.
“I feel really fortunate, because it was my dream to be able to make films and I’ve had an incredible time so far,” he said.
“I’ve spent an incredible part of my life in studios and sound booths and on sets all over the world, (and) so many people I’ve learned from... I do know it takes an incredible amount of endurance, hard work and a little bit of luck - maybe a lot of luck,” he continued.
The 51-year-old added: “Thank you to the audiences for watching. I made the movies for you.”
Before last night’s ceremony, Cruise said the most important lessons he had learnt throughout his three-decades long career were “enjoying moments in life with people”, adding that he is still in love with movie-making.
“In the film industry, there are film crews I get to work with, people everyday, the artistry and the craftsmanship. Those are the things you get to create yourself. It’s very exciting,” he said.
Action star Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed he hit the gym before receiving his Action Hero of a Lifetime award. The 66-year-old actor was presented with the gong by Jonathan Ross at the ceremony, at the Grosvenor House hotel on Park Lane in central London.
“The first thing I did was to work out, and then the second thing I did was to have some good British desserts, so that I gained the weight back after working out,” he said on the red carpet.
In his acceptance speech, he admitted being stubborn was behind his success.
“My advice is never take no for an answer,” he said. “I was told I’d never get into bodybuilding. I was told I’d never make it in the movie business. They said I was too big, they said it wouldn’t work with my accent. I never listened to them, and I went on to have a successful career.
“So never take no for an answer. So thank you, and I’ll be back,” he added, using his trademark line from The Terminator.
The awards, which were sponsored by Jameson, saw Hollywood stars such as Tom Cruise and Hugh Jackman mingling with the cream of British talent such as James McAvoy, Simon Pegg, Emma Thompson and Steve Coogan.
Pegg, who was given the Empire Hero award, thanked his long-time friends and co-stars: Jessica Hynes, Edgar Wright and his “f***ing husband” Nick Frost.
He said: “It feels like an uphill struggle sometimes to be taken seriously when you write comedy. Maybe it’s because I’m needy, but this is an award I’ve been desperate to get since I was a kid.”
Captain Phillips film-maker Paul Greengrass received the Inspiration award.
“When you direct, you need good actors. Only the actor can solve all your problems in one moment, can take a line that doesn’t work, and by moving can show you the set – only the actor can do it all,” he said.
“Over the years I have come to realise the commitment, the courage and the comradeship of the actor.”
Scottish star McAvoy urged the crowd to drink up as he accepted the best actor award for his portrayal of troubled Bruce Robertson in Filth.
“I haven’t come up with a speech but I love you all,” he said.
His X-Men: Days Of Future Past co-star Hugh Jackman was given the Icon award by Oscar-winning director Darren Aronofsky.
“Getting an award that has the word ’icon’ on it in a room with Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Emma Thompson is ridiculous. But thank you,” he said.
Michael Fassbender won the best supporting actor for his role in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave.
He said via video message: “I would be there if I could but I’m out of country working. Thank you. This will be nice to place on the mantelpiece.”
Sally Hawkins dedicated her best supporting actress award to her mother. She was presented with the award for her performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine by Richard E Grant.
“I’m just one face out of many who made this film possible,” she said.
“I couldn’t be here without an incredible cast and crew, and I really struck gold with this film. So thank you to dearest Woody and dear Cate (Blanchett) and last but not least, thank you to my family for helping me be able to do what I wanted to do – and Happy Mother’s Day. For Mrs Hawkins.”
Other winners chosen by the film magazine included Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, which won best comedy, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug took home best sci-fi fantasy, The Conjuring was awarded best horror and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was voted best thriller.
Gravity scooped two awards – best director for Alfonso Cuaron and the prestigious best film accolade.
Aidan Turner was chosen as best Male Newcomer for his performance in The Hobbit films, while Margot Robbie won best Female Newcomer for her role in Martin Scorsese’s Wolf In Wall Street.
James Nesbitt hosted the Jameson Empire Awards, now in its 19th year.
:: Full list of winners
Best Male Newcomer – Aidan Turner
Best Female Newcomer – Margot Robbie
Best Horror – The Conjuring
Best Comedy – Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
Best Thriller – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy – The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
Best Supporting Actor – Michael Fassbender
Best Supporting Actress – Sally Hawkins
Best British Film – The World’s End
Best Actress – Emma Thompson
Best Actor – James McAvoy
Best Director – Alfonso Cuaron
Best Film – Gravity