Will Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘The Dictator’ Walk The Oscar Red Carpet?

EXCLUSIVE… BREAKING 3PM… The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has pulled actor Sacha Baron Cohen‘s tickets from the 84th Academy Awards. This means he is banned from attending the Oscars even though he is an Academy member and one of the stars from Hugo, Paramount’s 11-nominated movie and Best Picture contender. “Unless they’re assured that nothing entertaining is going to happen on the Red Carpet, the Academy is not admitting Sacha Baron Cohen to the show,”  Paramount just told me. The reason is that a proposal reached the Academy for Baron Cohen to strut the Red Carpet in full costume as his title character in the upcoming Paramount comedy The DictatorUPDATE AT 5:30 PM: Later today, faced with all the bad publicity resulting from its action, the Academy tried to parse what it did when questioned by some media outlets. But the fact is that, this morning, the Academy’s Managing Director Of Membership Kimberly Rouch phoned Paramont’s awards staff to say Baron Cohen’s tickets had been pulled unless he gives the Academy assurances ahead of time promising not to show up on the Red Carpet in costume and not to promote the movie on the Red Carpet. The Academy made it clear that, without those assurances, it would not issue him the tickets. So he’s banned.*

Of course, the next best thing to that publicity stunt is all the media coverage which this ban is going to generate for Baron Cohen’s film. So the Academy has decided to act like dictators about the actor playing The Dictator. Ugh.

Sancha Baron Cohen Today Show Video

Loosen up, people. Frankly, the Academy looks like uptight wankers with this treatment of one of the globe’s funniest comedians. The Academy merely had to say no when that proposal was presented to it. Everyone involved in the ceremony was adamantly against it on the grounds that it makes a mockery of what Hollywood considers its most prestigious event. Instead, the Academy clearly wants another overly long, ridiculously reverential show about movies no one bothered to see where the best thing about the telecast will be the comeback of popular host Billy Crystal at age 63.

UPDATE: Is Academy Blinking On Banning Sacha Baron Cohen From Oscars 2012?

The Dictator is a spoof about the “heroic story of a Middle Eastern dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy never comes to the country he so lovingly oppressed”. Whether the fact that the 84th Academy Awards will be beamed into 200 countries had anything to do with this ban is unclear. But it is highly unusual for the Academy to pull a member’s tickets. An Oscars spokesperson acknowledged to Deadline yesterday: “We would hope that every studio knows that this is a bad idea. The Red Carpet is not about stunting.” Oh really? Then why did Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park crossdress down the Red Carpet as J-Lo and Gwyneth Paltrow in evening gowns in 2000? Or Ben Stiller appear as an Oscar presenter in full blue Avatar makeup and hair in 2010?

Sacha Baron CohenDeadline reported yesterday that Baron Cohen’s plan was to come dressed as The Dictator and then change into a tuxedo and attend the Oscars as planned. He wasn’t scheduled to present an award, but he was arriving at Kodak Theatre as part of the Paramount contingent. Now he can’t do even that. Paramount has a Best Picture nominee in the Martin Scorsese-directed Hugo in which Baron Cohen plays the train station inspector of the movie about an orphan in 1930s Paris.

At the 2007 Oscars, Baron Cohen was asked to be a presenter and said he would do it only if he could be in character as Borat. And Oscars’ Powers That Be said, “No way.” He didn’t attend. But this is the first time he has been officially banned from the show.

Purists feel that the Oscars is no place for such in your face promotion. The Academy hasn’t even allowed movies to be advertised during the Oscarcast, until this year. Then again, these Oscars have very little suspense because it’s a forgone conclusion that many of the winners of the marquee categories are already known and The Artist will win Best Picture. The prospect of Baron Cohen’s Red Carpet walk was the closest thing to drama.

This would not have been Baron Cohen’s first time upstaging an awards show. To promote Bruno, he flew through the air at the MTV Movie Awards and landed with his crotch in the face of Eminem, who later admitted the stunt was rehearsed. And a trailer for The Dictator certainly was one of the raciest ever allowed by the MPAA during the Super Bowl, where Baron Cohen’s character was hilariously depicted running a competitive race while and leg-shooting rivals with a starter pistol as they got close to him.

      1. “Banned”? Yeah, right. What a load. This has the stench of contrived publicity all over it.

        Cohen is a pretentious and irritating buffoon.

        1. I’d rather have a buffoon walk down the red carpet mocking the rest of the pretention versus Ahmandinejad walking the red carpet at the prententious United Nations….now there’s a real farce.

          1. If they banned all buffoons, there would be no Academy Awards. The annual Hollyweird circle-jerk should be banned entirely.

          2. You’re right on the UN being a farce, but Cohen is a buffoon, and I will never again watch any movie he’s in.

          3. EG – I’d just as soon avoid both. I wish our society had better things to focus on. Like jobs, or family. Although both of those are far less important to people than they used to be.

        2. Talented performers with original style concepts are frequently called “buffoons” because they don’t fit the mold. Cohen is a breath of fresh air to the moribund movie industry.

    1. The real set-up will be if Clooney wins the Oscar. Then your suspicions will be confirmed that it’s one big (inside Hollywood) joke.

      1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for calling the over-rated emperor on his lack of clothing. I wish others in Hollywood would be courageous enough to do the same.

      2. If Clooney wins an Oscar, then something is wrong….but then again the Academy and all the old hypocritical white guys in the Academy, have already proved many times before that is something is wrong with them.

        One thing is certain….The Artist needs to win as many Awards as possible. Best movie of the year by far with fantastic performances from the leads.

        1. The Artist was fun, but grossly overhyped. Yes, the performances were good. But it’s a 30min script that was stretched into 100min that I’ll never get back.

          Jean was good, but Clooney was so much better. Sorry, I’m not getting on the OOOOH THE ARTIST bus.

          It was clever, but I’m not that bored of films that I need to be impressed on a one hook wonder.

          The last scene, while amazing and awesome, does not a great film make.

        2. I’m sure the artist was good. But I think there were more deserving movies. Until the academy considers motion capture to be acting and animation and that they allow cool stunts during the show I will always have a bit of ill feelings towards them.

      1. ya im sure thats the reason. get over yourself! not every world problem has to do with racism! im black and people like you are making it worse on us…not better

        1. Hey Joe — so true! Plus as Cohen looks remarkably like a person of pallor what the eff does race have to do with stopping an uber-egomaniac?

          EVERY person walking down that carpet has a movie to promote — if they did they’d have a 10 hour entrance to a 4 hour show.

      2. What does that have to do with it? You don’t like that the Academy or Hollywood to be dominated by Caucasians, then feel free to start your own universally popular, multi-billion-dollar film industry. Until then, just be happy these Caucasians hire non-Caucasians. After all, that kind of tolerance is certainly not found in say, the Indian or East Asian film industries.

        1. Your argument is invalid. You are a racist. We should not be’tolerating’ people of colour, we should be providing them with equal opportunities. Lesson in capitalism 101: Capitalism does not provide with equal opportunities. Go read a book and learn some real tolerance.

          1. oh good grief. go back to your politically correct rock and crawl back under it. capitalism is about hard work and money. if you can put the hard work in or figure a way to make money without it then you’re in. if you’re going to sit on your butt all day and complain about race and whine about inequalities then you’re out. the only color is green and how to make it. hollywood, even though they hate to admit it, is all about capitalism. i love it when libs hate capitalism and thrive in it–too funny.

          2. “Lesson in capitalism 101: Capitalism does not provide with equal opportunities.”….Loro

            How hilarious someone attempting to be pedantic… and getting it so horribly incorrect !

            capitalism does indeed provide each and evry one with equality of opportunity. What it does not do, is guarantee equal outcomes for each participant.

        2. Whoa, you know, I agreed that the comment was out of line here, but your comment is equally out of line. There is nothing wrong with demanding more diversity in Hollywood– over 1/3 of American citizens are not white, and our movies and entertainment don’t reflect that. Being a white woman from New York City, I get a bit weirded out when I see movies that take place in New York where way more of the people are white, because it just seems creepy. That’s not what New York is like. And suggesting that ordinary people in today’s US have any ability to start a billion dollar industry is just ludicrous and you know it. The people who started the Hollywood industry did it many years ago at a time when it was much easier, relatively less expensive, and they still exploited a lot of people to do it. We do have a right to demand better from Hollywood. We’re their audience and they don’t make money without us.

          1. While you are obsessing about race and discrimination, other women are out competing and solving problems and not worrying about discrimination because of one undeniable fact:

            It is uncompetitive to discriminate against talented people for reasons other than talent. If I don’t hire women because I don’t like them, then my competitor will hire them and have a better chance of success than me.

            People whining and obsessing about discrimination are wasting their limited time on this planet. If an employer discriminates, the hell with them. You didn’t want to work there anyway because they’re f’n stupid.

          2. Do you suggest that directors and producers haul “people of color” off of the streets and force them to become actors?

            How do you force people into a profession so that it’s racial makeup reflects the general population?

          3. And what about the audience members who don’t care to see the movies for which you have mandated a properly diverse cast? You know, the audience members who hold the ultimate keys to a project’s success? Will you force them to see the properly diverse film? It’s called supply and demand, and it works.

      3. I agree with you that there’s a diversity problem in Hollywood, but sorry– if anything, Sascha Baron Cohen’s characters are extremely racist and have no place in films, let alone at an event like the Oscars. I would certainly be uncomfortable seeing the Academy give him a platform for his racist caricatures.

        1. Whoa! Lighten up. It’s called “HUMOR” which has very little to do with reality. Movies are, for the most part fiction. The whole point of seeing Sacha Baron Cohen is to laugh at the idiocy which he displays. If he did not go completely over-the-top at every single opportunity, he’d be nothing more than Adam Sandler Lite.

          If you want to take something seriously, watch cable news or catch up on an episode of Nova.

          Really, you are way too up-tight.

      4. Well, no, it’s not “’nuff said”. What in the world does the racial makeup have to do anything, why is it obvious, and what issue are you referring to?

    2. Personally, I’d rather watch Baron Cohen PICK HIS NOSE for three hours, than watch Billy Crystal host ANYTHING!! Baron Cohen could be in a full on COMA and still be MORE TALENTED, timely, and creative than Billy Crystal…

      1. Billy Crystal less talented than Cohen? Surely, you jest Pat? Or perhaps you are using hyperbole to assert a point? You think Borat is better than City Slickers? Cohen lacks talent and only thrives on shock value (namely publicity stunts like this). Is he so special that he must be allowed to show up “in character”?


        “old hypocritical white guys” Isn’t this racist and hypocritical to state this?

      2. Pat

        I am sure Baron Cohen would love to oblige you. In fact that could be his stunt for the next MTV awards show and you could be the pick-up man. Billy Cystal would be funnier in a wheel-chair with an oxygen tank than Sasha Cohen and any of his vulgar and puerile stunts

    3. Could the issue have something to do with the fact that many Hollywood celebrities – and politicians – adore the dictators being made fun of in this movie? Could these people be offended by Sasha Baron Cohen making fun of turd-world dictators so beloved by mini-marxists such as Sean Penn and BH Obama? Hmmm….

      1. I agree with you. Some parade these dictators arounds as heros. Granted it is what popular in holly’farce’. Sad to see a bunch of educated individuals promote thier social agenda for change by advocating marxsism, and communism. But it is whats cool. I don’t let my kids watch to much of the academy awards or E news for that mattter. Actors act…actors are not politicians. South Park does wonders to foster “thinking for yourself” example..Team America

    4. I Don’t think so the actors working in Hollywood hate a guy like Cohen. A talented genius is despised by the beautiful, mediocre talent. He’s publicly none political and not part of the scene. He stars in his own films that are relatively inexpensive to make and are usually big hits. So, they hate him!

    1. But Charlie Chaplin turned the Oscars Arrivals in to what they are today, WITH his red carpet antics.

      I think it has MUCH more to do with his un-PC portrayal of Socialist Dictators, a REAL NO-NO in uber-liberal Hollywood.

      1. Exactly. And since Middle East dictator implies Muslim you know they can’t possibly allow it-not like the Christians and Jews they constantly offend-all in the spirit of good fun of course.

    1. It’s been a rock garden for 10 years at that show. I’m sending good karma to Billy Crystal. Hopefully he’ll be politically incorrect, but he’ll probably kiss Obama’s you-know-what.

      1. I don’t think being a ‘doofus’ is what garnered him worldwide acclaim and a few hundred mil. What have YOU done lately?

        1. I find it poignant and wonderful that you think no one could gain worldwide acclaim and a few hundred mil by being a doofus.

          Please, never watch movies with the Three Stooges, Jerry Lewis, Jim Carrey, Tom Green, Adam Sandler, or Jack Black. I fear your faith in the human race would not be able to survive such evidence.

          1. What?. You just completely switched your argument from ‘this doofus brings in no ratings’ to ‘it’s not hard for a doofus to be successful!’. Okay, so he *does* bring in ratings?

        2. Are you kidding? Most of the popular comedians in the world are complete clowns. They are simply the ones who sell better in the international market. A smart, witty comedian who points out subtle funny things in their own culture will not be easily accepted in another country. This other country is just not familiar with the intricacies of wherever culture the comedian comes from. They are an outside and often times it takes an insider’s perspective to understand the humor. Furthermore, the jokes might be translated into their local language wrong. Thus, the non-English speaking masses usually gravitate more towards the gross or slapstick comedy. It’s much easier to “get.”

          On a side note, Cohen’s new film looks pretty lame. The jokes are predictable. At least that’s what I got from the trailer.

          1. The Trailer for “The Dictator” is lame and boring, so Cohen has taken steps assure it is being noticed…

        3. Worldwide acclaim? I was surprised to see this singularly untalented individual was still disgracing himself. His first Borat film did well because of publicity; the second died after word got around how inane the first movie was, giving claim to the saying you can’t fool all of the people all of the time”.

          It won’t be the first or last time that someone untalented made money.

      2. Beau and Rose are perpetuating the dim and facile idea that being a successful comic performer boils down to being a “doofus”.

  1. This is soooo stupid. The Academy needs to seriously get over itself. It’s a popularity contest, at the very least, they could let Sacha make it entertaining, rather than thawing out a host from the crypt of the entertainment business. So stupid.

    1. Ooh, the Red Carpet! With capital letters!

      You’re right…they think they’re All That. But imagine the idea of The Hollywood Elite allowing someone or something entertaining in their midst…it could destroy their (petty) world as we know it!

      God forbid anyone in Hollywood might get an original idea, either, grumble grumble…

    2. Just don’t watch the show Anon. For the nominees this is a serious event with tons of money, prestige and pride riding on the line. Those in charge have the absolute right to do what they can to not make a mockery out of event.

      1. It’s an especially serious event for most of the nominees because it is practically the only public attention their films will garner. Heaven knows the movie-going public isn’t paying attention.

  2. This is asinine. A bunch of uptight, pretentious old farts so afraid that the whole world wont take them as serious as they (mistakenly) take themselves. Lighten up Academy, I mean let’s be honest most of you only have a few good years left anyway, might as well learn to take a joke before it’s too late. Hell they should let him HOST the damn thing. Such bullshit.

  3. yeah, ’cause no one ever walked the illusive Red Carpet in something ridiculous to gain attention before…

    1. Haha!

      His outfit would definitely look much better than some of those god-awful dresses. The men all look the same.

      If they’re worried about the image of the awards, they’re lame. If they’re worried about being offensive toward certain countries/people, I guess it’s honorable.

      They’re lame.

  4. I’m not a huge fan of his, but god forbid the Academy allow anything INTERESTING to happen! What would that be — 20 seconds on the carpet and out?? Who cares?!

  5. I suppose the question is what is worse? Movie stars on the red carpet accompanied by endless chatter regarding their clothing designer, their jewels and so on, or movie stars on the red carpet shamelessly plugging their next project? Hard to get terribly excited about either one.

  6. Look – if they let him do it, then every studio is going to insist on all their actors go “in character” at the Oscars.

    Sure it might have been entertaining, but a slippery slope.

    Plus, what an egotistical move by Baron Cohen, to take attention away from HUGO, the film being awarded, to promote himself.

    1. You kidding? The entire Oscar event is about promotion!

      As well as being some of the most BORING three or six hours of television each and every year.

    2. It would be awesome for the actors to come “in character.” DanRad as Harry Potter, RPtaz as a sparkling vampire, RDJ and Ironman, Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow …. At least the Academy would get viewers for the boring telecasts.

    3. I agree with CJS. Wouldn’t it be great if all the actors were dressed as the characters from their movies released during the Oscar year in question?

      Then, the ceremony would be at least as entertaining as an episode of “Let’s Make a Deal”. Hell, they dragged Billy Crystal out of his retirement home; why not give Monty Hall a chance to host the Academy Awards?

      Perhaps, even I would watch the show again.

  7. Why don’t they just ask him nicely to dress like everyone else and support Hugo? It seems like kindergarten fodder where if someone doesn’t get their way they overreact and say you can’t play in the sandbox anymore. Come on Academy, i’m sure you’l find it in your hearts to let him attend.

  8. Love the guy (great in “Hugo”) but understandable in light of Syria. His subject is always hypocrisy which I find interesting. Apparently somebody besides me is a fan of the old Howard Stern show on WOR. HOWEVER I also hope Cohen shows up anyway – that’s what a REAL dictator would do. Ban the ban.

    1. And that is exactly what I bet he is going to do. With faux bodyguards and a real film crew. It will be fun to watch the security folks cart him off. If he pulls it off, I would not be surprised to see a clip in the film itself. Not to mention a wealth of free publicity that money could not buy. Kudos Sasha!!

  9. Good he deserves to be banned for being an arrogant jerk. His Dictator is going to flop it’s awful the trailer was horrible it has no real laughs in it but because he’s such an egomaniac none of his enablers are able to explain to him why his movie isn’t funny. He was so talented when he made Borat it was brilliant but Bruno was terrible and his Dictator is a perfect reflection of his own personality. He thinks he really is a dictator and in his showbiz bubble he is. His beard is ugly and so is his ego. Bye Sacha. No red carpet publicity for you.

    1. You seem to know quite a bit about SBC. You must know him personally to have such an opinion on him ;) He would make you look like a fool in real life though. And where have you ever seen him out of character acting like an egomaniac?

      He must have made fun of you in one of his movies or something.. lol

  10. I agree with the ban. The Oscars should be the one night of the year that we applaud the institution of film (yes, the Oscars are political, but that’s life). There are still 364 days of the year for people to shamelessly hawk their mediocre movies.

  11. RIDICULOUS!!! What happened to freedom of speech?!?! I bet strolling the red carpet in his costume would be the ONLY entertaining thing that will happen at the uberrrr booooooring Oscars.

    1. There’s always someone who, in every situation, brings up free speech. Truly, the greatest failure of the American educational system is not explaining what the first amendment actually says and where it applies.

      Your employer can fire you for what you say at work, the Academy can uninvite you because they don’t like what you’re going to say or do, at their private event. You have no “Constitutional Right” to show up on a red carpet and act in a manner that’s contrary to what the people who are paying for the red carpet want. (On the other hand, you have every constitutional right to stand outside the event, and protest it.)

      Yeah, the Academy is being dumb here. And surely showing up dressed as his character is really no worse than those horrible radio ads pleading for Meryl Strep to win, saying “She hasn’t won in 27 years.”

      But don’t confuse the issue. This isn’t about freedom of speech.

  12. I get it. To the Academy – this is like their wedding day and they don’t want anyone taking away from it. Fair enough. So it’s a firm “NO” for someone to attend dressed as a character from their film. Decision made. But it is okay to have some guy with his arm up some puppet’s ass talking like a female pig. Got it! Good to note.

  13. Yes, what a travesty it would be if anything entertaining ever happened at the Oscars. Good for them for quickly putting an end to such foolish thoughts.

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