McKellen puckered up to congratulate his friend, and fellow actor, on being crowned a ‘Legend’ at Sunday night’s awards bash.
The Lord of the Rings star was given a standing ovation as he took to the stage to introduce Stewart, who he described as one of his “heroes”.
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?”
He planted a kiss on Stewart’s lips as he handed over the award and joked: “A legend award? Come on Patrick, it doesn't mean to say your career is over! I think it means I'm done!”
The X-Men star thanked his “brother and friend, Ian” before quoting German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.
He said: “’Success is an impostor. It conceals the flaw, the wound, the fundamental doubt at the core of the artists’ being’.
“Well, I only quoted that as I wanted to go down as the only actor in history to quote Nietzche. But nevertheless, sometimes, Mr Nietzche, you are right.”
Other big winners included Luca Besson who received the Empire Inspiration award and Tom Hiddleston, who was crowned a ‘Hero’.
On collecting his award from Hugh Laurie he 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.”
Felicty Blunt and Eddie Redmayne took home the Best Actress and Actor gongs while Rogue One: A Star Wars Story got Best Film and I, Daniel Blake was deemed Best British Film.