GQ Men of the Year Awards 2020: Jack Whitehall savages the government in first virtual ceremony

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GQ Men of the Year Awards: Jack Whitehall savages the government and THAT toe-curling Imagine video as he pokes fun at the ‘sh*tastrophe that was 2020’ in first ever virtual ceremony

  • The 2020 GQ Men of the Year Awards were streamed virtually for the first time in its 23-year history, and was hosted by Jack Whitehall at the London Coliseum 
  • Stars including Lashana Lynch, Marcus Rashford and Piers Morgan attended a scaled-back red carpet, with the ceremony also taking place without an audience due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Normal People star Paul Mescal led the winners by winning Hugo Boss Breakthrough Actor of the Year
  • Captain Sir Tom Moore was also awarded with Inspiration Of The Year after raising £33 million for NHS charities during lockdown, and at the age of 100 has already become GQ’s oldest ever cover star 

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Jack Whitehall took a savage swipe at the UK government and their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as he hosted the 23rd GQ Men Of The Year Awards in association with Hugo Boss.

The comedian joked that the star-studded ceremony wouldn’t feature a prize for Politician Of The Year as he appeared at the London Coliseum without an audience due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first ever virtual ceremony saw Black Sabbath hitmaker Ozzy Osbourne receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Normal People star Paul Mescal was awarded with Breakthrough Actor of the Year.

Naughty! Jack Whitehall took a savage swipe at the UK government and their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as he hosted the 23rd GQ Men Of The Year Awards in association with Hugo Boss

Kicking off the show with pared-back opening monologue, Jack said: ‘We’re here at the stunning CT – ah theatres do you remember them? No me neither! We were actually really lucky with this place it was booked for the Bond premiere so we got a good deal.’

Saying the awards were still going ahead despite the ‘s**tastrophe that was 2020,’ he added: ‘Spoiler alert: ‘There is no politician of the year!’

Jack also didn’t hold back in poking fun at the cringeworthy video recorded by stars including Gal Gadot and Jimmy Fallon, as they released a cover of John Lennon’s Imagine, which was heavily criticised at the time for being out-of-touch.

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Revealing they’d be replaying the video to honour the key workers who kept the country going during the pandemic, Jack pressed a button on the control panel, but the music failed to play.

As he frantically turned knobs and pressed buttons, Jack cheekily said: ‘Son’t you want to hear the millionaires singing the beautiful ballad?’ before opting to introduce a performance from Sports Team instead.

Leading the winners was Normal People star Paul Mescal who received the Hugo Boss Breakthrough Actor of the Year, after earning critical acclaim for his role in the Irish drama. 

The actor celebrated the win by watching the final episode of the BBC drama, squirming as they replayed one of the show’s steamier sex scenes. 

The star previously reflected on his incredible rise to fame in an interview with GQ, revealing he and co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones reunited to watch the series back together.

‘We hadn’t actually watched it together, Daisy and I. Because of lockdown, we hadn’t done that,’ he said.

‘So last week we got together and watched the whole thing through,’ revealing that the viewing party soon turned boozy.  

‘We actually ended up playing a little drinking game: every time Connell wouldn’t complete a sentence or any time Marianne would make an emphatic statement that made Connell uncomfortable we did a shot,’ he said.

‘We ended up talking over most of it, just reflecting on particular days, costume changes, memories. It was very special to get to do that with her. The thing we shared – will always share – is so unique.’

Paul also explained in the interview how he only recently decided to focus all his attention on acting.  

‘I really struggled with that decision: choosing one thing to focus on that I wouldn’t get utterly bored with,’ he explained. ‘Acting was something that I didn’t really know how to do but I could see how it would take a great deal of dedication.’

‘It was a team environment, but one with an almost hermitic lifestyle for the individual players – just going in and being totally absorbed by it. That really appealed.’ 

Lashanna Lynch, who will play the first ever female 007 in the upcoming James Bond film No Time To Die, received the Hugo Boss Breakthrough Actress prize.

Paul Hutchinson received the Humanitarian Award after gained worldwide attention when he was pictured carrying a man to safety in the midst of a violent clash between a Black Lives Matters march and EDL counter-protesters. 

While Daniel W Fletcher received the award for Peroni Breakthrough Designer, Charlie Mackesy was honoured with award for Maddox Gallery Artist. 

Captain Sir Tom Moore was awarded the Inspiration of the Year, after becoming GQ’s oldest ever cover star at the age of 100.

The centenarian was a beacon of light to emerge at the height of the coronavirus pandemic as he raised millions for the NHS and instilled a sense of togetherness and positivity in the nation.

In an interview with the magazine, Sir Tom opened up about his 20-year first marriage, his beloved late wife’s battle with dementia, and how he wants to be there for ‘lonely people in need of help’.

He also broke down as he discussed the moment he realised he would have to put his wife into a care home.

Captain Tom told the magazine: ‘Taking her… she didn’t really know what we were doing. And I felt… I felt I was letting her down. I realise it was the best that could be done. I realise my effort wasn’t enough.’

The national treasure also joked about installing two stair lifts at his home and how he enjoys ‘lots of sugar’ on his porridge every morning, ‘because cholesterol is the least of his worries at 100.’

Formula One star Lewis Hamilton was awarded with Game Changer Of The Year following his work to combat racism in his industry.

The racing champion previously said he ‘cannot stay silent’ in the face of racism as he discussed why he takes the knee on the race track. 

Saying he wanted to fight racism to change the experiences of younger generations, he told GQ: ‘I started experiencing racism when I was five and people looked upon it so lightly, when someone would throw out these words, the bullying and the beatings and the intimidation.

‘My dad always said, “Do your talking on the track,” so I held my tongue, but we suppress a lot of things and all my suppressed emotions came up and I was like, “You know what? I have to do something. I cannot stay silent.” 

‘If we all stay silent, it will continue for generations. I look at my niece and nephew and do not want them to experience what I experienced.’

In July, Lewis took the knee before the Austrian Grand Prix, and described it as an emotional and poignant chapter in his battle to make Formula One a more inclusive sport. 

At the race, Lewis wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt and was joined by 13 of his contemporaries who knelt in the moments before the sport’s opening round of the season in Spielberg. 

GQ asked Lewis about how rules of the sport were changed following the Tuscan Grand Prix, meaning racers are essentially banned from wearing shirts with political statements after he wore one asking for the officers who killed Breonna Taylor to be arrested.

Questioned if he’ll ignore the ban, Lewis said: ‘If I believe it is important enough, I will. I will do it again. Every weekend that I arrive we have the spotlight on us and every weekend there is an opportunity to raise awareness. We don’t live in a time when everything is OK. 

‘And I remember as I went through the day I was like, “OK, I’ve got to win this race. I can’t come second and wear this top.”

‘So I remember racing my heart out, pushing with every ounce for first place and I remember getting that win and I was like, “OK. I’m here for you, Breonna.”    

‘And I put that shirt on and in the 70 years of our sport, no one’s ever stood up there for anything but themselves. And I was standing up there for someone else.’ 

Star Wars’ John Boyega received the award for Icon of the Year, after speaking open to GQ about feeling his character was ‘sidelined’ in favour of his white co-stars.

He went on the say that he felt that the white characters in the film were given far more ‘nuance,’ suggesting that the filmmaking team didn’t know how to treat him properly as a black actor. 

After his tireless campaigning for free school meals during a time of economic crisis, Marcus Rashford was awarded Campaigner of the Year.

Inspiration: Captain Sir Tom Moore became GQ's Inspiration of the Year, after the centenarian raised over £32 million for charity during the first coronavirus lockdown

Humanitarian: Paul Hutchinson received the Humanitarian Award after carrying a man to safety in the midst of a violent clash between a BLM marchers and EDL counter-protesters

Designer: Next In Fashion star Daniel W Fletcher was named Peroni Breakthrough Designer

Inspiration: Captain Sir Tom Moore became GQ’s Inspiration of the Year, Paul Hutchinson received the Humanitarian Award (centre) and Next In Fashion star Daniel W Fletcher was named Peroni Breakthrough Designer

The Manchester United star travelled back to his own primary school to have a go at cooking some meals for the pupils with Jack Monroe. 

Explaining his reasoning behind starting the campaign: ‘The big thing for me is making people feel comfortable with telling people that they need help. 

‘I’ve helped a lot of people but I know there’s still loads more people that need the help, my biggest aim is to just give kids the best chance from the day that they were born.’

Singer Shawn Mendes received the award for Solo Artist, and he delighted fans by delivering a stellar performance.

Michaela Coel, who created and starred in the critically acclaimed series I May Destroy You, was presented with Creative Icon of the year.

The actress, 33, was praised for her penning a series which reflected her own experience being sexually assaulted, and had already been named as one of Time’s Most Influential People Of The Year. 

Piers Morgan also took to the stage after being named as TV Personality Of The Year, for his tireless work holding government ministers to account during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taking part in an interview with himself, the broadcaster offered his view on choosing to hold President of the United States Donald Trump to account during the crisis.

He said: ‘I always try to be fair-minded with Trump, I think my job as a journalist is to be impartisan, with Trump I always try to be fair minded.’ 

Finally Ozzy Osbourne was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award after decades in the music industry.

All of the winners have been interviewed and filmed by GQ, with creative production by Ridley Scott Creative Group’s Black Dog Films, and the full ceremony is now available to view via British GQ’s YouTube channel. 

Urbane, upscale, bold and always stylish, GQ’s status as a byword for men’s style is unparalleled.

GQ has one of the most energetic, comprehensive 360 publishing platforms in the UK and is known for the highest standards in feature writing and photography. 

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