Alan Cumming

Alan Cumming is a perfect choice to host the 2011 Britannia Awards (Sunday at 8/7c on TV Guide Network). I mean, the man won a Tony Award for playing an emcee (for Cabaret in 1998)! Plus, the Scottish actor has other skills relevant to the gig — just ask him. "I'm a little bit cheeky and a little bit mischievous," he says. "I'm quite good on my feet."

It's a good thing too, because Cumming's packed schedule — including his ongoing gig on The Good Wife, which shoots in New York — made it difficult to find time to fly to Los Angeles to host the show, let alone prepare what he will say. "It kind of keeps me on my toes and kind of feels like doing theater without having to do a play for six months," he says. "I have no script yet, but I enjoy the last minute-ness of it."

Check out red carpet arrivals from the 2011 Britannia Awards

Cumming promises that he won't be nearly as controversial as that other biting awards show host from across the pond. "I think it's a Scottish thing to be quite brutal and quite dark, but you say it with love so then nobody gets hurt," he says. "I think it's always good to not take yourself too seriously. But also, you don't want to be rapidly cutting or people are going to get offended."

Besides, after hosting the ceremony twice before, it's old hat to him now. "I quite regularly host things. I enjoy that and it's fun," he says. "Now I'm more relaxed about it. I try to research the people who are coming on and to see what is everyone talking about right now in Hollywood." But don't expect him to go easy on his friends. "The more you know someone, the more embarrassing stories you know," he jokes. "[Presenter] Jason Isaacs is an old friend of mine so he sent a little note saying, 'This is how I want to be introduced.' I said, 'I shall be the judge of that, thank you.'"

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles hands out the annual Britannia Awards for achievement in acting, producting and directing. This year's honorees include Warren Beatty, Ben Stiller, Pixar's John Lasseter, David Yates and Helena Bonham Carter.