Sacha Baron Cohen Responds To Movie Academy “Of Arts & Zionists”: Is Academy Blinking On Oscars Ban? – EXCLUSIVE

UPDATE: Sacha Baron Cohen Talks Oscars Ban: “I Applaud The Academy For Taking Away My Free Speech” – EXCLUSIVE

2ND UPDATE 3:45 PM: This afternoon on The Dictator movie’s spoof website for the fictional Middle Eastern country of ‘The Republic Of Wadiya’, an explosive notice was posted. (Obviously by Sacha Baron Cohen as his title character in The Dictator.):

“Admiral General Aladeen will deliver a formal response tomorrow morning [Friday] to being banned from The Oscars by the Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Zionists.”

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 Baron Cohen being banned from the Oscars was unclear. But it now looks like the Jewish comedian is taking on the normally verboten subject of Hollywood and Jews and Muslims. Oy vey!  

UPDATE 3:15 PM… EXCLUSIVE: Stung by bad publicity, the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is trying to find a way out of its Oscars standoff with popular comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. Sacha Baron Cohen Oscars 2012Yesterday I reported exclusively that the Academy had pulled his tickets to the 84th Academy Awards show for this Sunday simply because he intended to walk the Red Carpet as the title character of his upcoming Paramount comedy The Dictator. Insiders tell me that all morning and afternoon the Academy has been internally debating whether to allow Baron Cohen on the Red Carpet in full uniform as a fictional Middle Eastern General Alladeen and then allow him to change into a tuxedo to attend the show which was his plan all along. Baron Cohen not only is an Academy member, but he’s also one of the stars of Paramount’s 11-nominated film Hugo which is a Best Picture contender. “There’s a debate inside the Academy of how to respond,” an insider tells me. “Certainly the perception is that they lack a sense of humor which got a strong reaction. They are debating what to do. But so far they have not changed their official position.”

I’ve confirmed with both Paramount and Baron Cohen’s publicist that the comic is still banned. However, Academy President Tom Sherak this morning told the TV morning show Good Day LA that Baron Cohen will be at the Oscars. To which the Baron Cohen camp responded to me that is untrue.

“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 told me yesterday. The reason is that a proposal reached the Academy earlier this week for Baron Cohen to strut the Red Carpet in full costume as his title character. In response, on Wednesday 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.

VIDEO: Sacha Baron Cohen Today Show

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.

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.

It is highly unusual for the Academy to pull a member’s tickets. An Oscars spokesperson acknowledged to Deadline Tuesday: ”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?

Baron Cohen 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. It’s a slippery slope. Let one guy do it and the next thing you know the show devolves into an Mtv award show where EVERY presenter has to broadcast when their next album drops.

      Sure the Academy looks like a bunch of uptight old dudes, but that’s what they are. Besides, why would they want someone with an interesting take on comedy to steal the spotlight from what is sure to be Billy Crystal’s cutting edge Borsch Belt-style take on the nominees?

        1. Yes, EVERYBODY. Think about having this precedent in past years. Jim Carrey in full Grinch regalia? Mike Myers in his Cat in the Hat outfit? Don’t put it past the studios and their always-scheming publicity departments.

        1. >> lol at the snoozefest thats about to occur

          See, this doesn’t make any sense.

          Your point boils down to this: If the Academy Awards don’t let Sacha Baron Cohen subvert the conventions of the Academy Awards, then the Academy Awards will be conventional.

          Like, uh, yeah.

          The whole problem is that it’s a one-shot deal: Once the conventions have been subverted, then there are no conventions to subvert. There’s nothing left to make fun of.

          By letting Cohen do his stunt, the academy will have thrown the baby out with the bathwater. The academy would be tossing away decades of actual credibility for the sake of one laugh in 2012. Worst of all, it’s a laugh that can’t ever be repeated, because the conventions it’s mocking won’t exist anymore to be mocked.

      1. You’re absolutely right, now stay tuned for the next award presented by Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill who, according to the announcer, are in no shape or form paired to present in conjunction with their new film 21 Jump Street.

        1. Yup! You nailed it. I’ll pass and watch Billy’s opener on youtube the next day. Life’s too short to sit and watch all that BS.

      2. Sure the Academy looks like a bunch of uptight old dudes, but that’s what they are.

        No, actually, that’s not what they are. And even if they were, that’s not the main takeout from all this.

        The main takeout is that not every event in the world has to be a platform for irony and irreverence. (For that matter, when everything is a platform for irony and irreverence, then nothing can actually be ironic and irreverent anymore.)

        I love Sacha Baron Cohen. But the Academy Awards ceremony doesn’t exist to service the promotional shtick of Sacha Baron Cohen or anyone else.

        Let’s drill down a little deeper:

        The very reason that Cohen’s arrival-in-character would be notable is that it would flout orthodoxy and convention — that it would flout the Oscars’ standard operating procedure. In other words, his joke draws its very currency from the fact that the Oscars have orthodoxy, convention and standard operating procedure in the first place. Indeed, that’s the only way it can be a “joke” at all: The Oscars would be serving as straight man to his funny man.

        And there’s some real irony for you: In protesting his snubbing, Cohen is essentially asking the academy to forsake the very traits that his gimmick would rely on for its juice.

        Why should the Academy Awards be forced to play the straight-man role to serve one guy’s shtick? Why is it “uptight” to decline that role? To insist that the academy accommodate Cohen is to insist the tail wag the dog. That’s pointless, and in the bigger picture, it’s subversive. And frankly, it’s not “uptight” for the Oscars to resist being subverted.

      3. what do you mean?? It ALREADY IS an MTV awards show… Its a pointless bunch of crap that they have been feeding the public for years… Lets all get together and stroke each other off and give each other trophies for pretending to be someone were not…

        Dont get me wrong, I like the movies as much as the next person but christ, not only do they score huge paychecks but they put themselves up on pedestals, reward each other, then try and preach their dumb ideas like its the next great revelation. no thanks.

        I wouldnt piss on 3/4 of them if they were on fire.

      4. Its the freaking academy awards. Who cares? The events that occur in this sanitized display of the irrelevant make no difference in my life.

        I may have watched if they let him show up. Now, its a guaranteed bypass with the remote.

      1. The academy said – QUOTE – “Unless they’re assured that nothing entertaining is going to happen on the Red Carpet” HAHAHAHAHAHA
        Duh, Why would entertainers want to entertaine?

    2. What right does Hollywood or anyone else on this planet dictate what is entertainment to ME! To hell with all of them.

    3. They call it “show business” because its a business. All this crap about what great “artists” they are, who culturally important they are, is totally bogus. They are just money grubbing clowns, we all know it, and they might as well get used to it.

      1. spot on they don’t call it hollywird for nothing. self important a–holes talking about things they don’t know about most of the time.

    4. Just another reason to not pay much mind to this event, it isn’t about artistic freedom, its about censorship now. Not surprising, and not much to get excited about… at all.

      1. Can I come to your house and express my ‘artistic freedom’ in your living room or would you censor me?

    5. The message is not explosive, he’s staying in character as a middle east dictator. Cohen is famous for staying in character, its what he does. He’s is Jewish btw

    6. Who cares…truly who cares? This guy is a waste of space. Should have been left in a condom…he has nothing worthwhile to say.

    7. Funniest line in the article:

      “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,”

      Why am I not surprised to find out the academy awards have a rule against being entertaining. That explains EVERYTHING.

    8. And just how bad would it be to publicly parodize middle eastern despots?

      The common folk in those countries know what is going on.
      Ridiculing the ruling class is the first step to removing them from power.

    9. As a long time Academy member, may I suggest we all attend in our formal Dictator’s outfits just for a few kicks and giggles – what say ye?

    10. The notion that the Oscars mean anything to anyone is the elephant in the room. Do I care who wins? Nope. Do I care who shows up? Nope. Do I care what actors say or do? Not in the least.

      All of my dramatic moments of 2011 occurred in the real world.

    11. If indeed, this is an Academy publicity stunt, then it’s a cynical joy watching these once high and mighty titans drop their pants in begging for attention like an old Rip Taylor sketch. Don’t forget the confetti tossing, boys.

    12. Let Cohen present. Let him attend!

      Leftists at Oscars banns and silences anyone they disagree with.

      I will not watch Oscars!

    13. It’s their program. They have the right to set the rules. This is not a governmental issue so Sasha, you’re swell but shut up.

    14. I have to ask do people even watch this TRASH anymore??? Oscars have NOTHING to do with real LIFE.. or a life that 99.9% of the populace will ever experience.. it’s a bunch of RICH people all trying to UPSTAGE and SHOW OFF for the serfs of this country who sit on their couches eating potato chips and drooling

    15. Perhaps most of the viewing puplic would be very happy to keep the awards a private afair, without TV coverage. Not missing their regularly scheduled shows! Like to see an honest pole. Exclusive
      of sponsors, of course.

  1. The academy should stand its ground. They should not allow their red carpet to be used as a publicity stunt. You know how many reporters are out there from around the world who could easily misinterpret his answers? The academy lacks a sense of humor? That’s long been known by not nominating knocked up, hangover or bridesmaids and not nominating Charlie day for horrible bosses

      1. Oh, the poor public. Falling to their knees in admiration of movie people? The article title says it all. Academy of worthless pretenders who steal others’ ideas to profit. Billy Crystal again? That is just too obvious and boring. Canadians really could not care any less about the whole sham.

        1. You care about it even though you don’t admit it. That’s why you too the time to read the article and comment on it.

    1. The RED CARPET is all about publicity. Its only function is to provide publicity for those selected few that are allowed to walk the carpet. So now Cohen is planning to publicize his movie and the Academy does not like it. Shame on them. Good for Mr. Cohen.

    2. Please do not speak of the Academy Awards as if it were not a publicity stunt in of itself. Its ‘righteous’ stand is nauseating.

    1. I remember being at the awards When David Niven was the MC. I was front row center in the balcony. Barbara (Babs) S. came out in a totally see-through black jumpsuit. I almost fell out of the balcony, trying to get a better view. What bout that outfit? Also, at the same show, a totally nude streaker ran across the stage. Talk about no outfit. And they are concerned about Cohen.


    2. As the article states, people have before.. Southpark guys in dresses and whats his face in avatar costume. So, why not Sacha? Because he is making fun of a fictional ‘arab-like’ dictator, they are afraid of offending.

    1. How did this guy become “a celebrity”? What has he done that is noteworthy? Same question I continually ask about Kim Kardashian.

      1. He wrote and produced 2 movies (Borat and Bruno) that grossed a combined $400 million worldwide!! That alone makes you “a celebrity”.
        Plus, he’s been in Hugo, Sweeney Todd, Talledega Nights, and voiced
        in Madagasgar 1 and 2. The guy is a star…but he keeps a low profile…EXCEPT when he has a movie coming out!

        1. Not correct: ever heard of Ali G. In da House? That is one of the funniest and stupidest, but still really funniest (you notice already the controversy) movies in history. . .

      2. Are you an idiot?
        You seriously equate Cohen with Kardashian?

        Cohen, like him or not, is a writer and performer. He’s starred in HBO series and motion pictures. He’s has a supporting role in a film nominated for 11 Oscars.

        Kardashian is none of those thing and is in a totally different area of entertainment.

        So hate Cohen, like Cohen, whatever. But your analogy proves you’re not very bright.

      3. Congrats, Free Willy, you’ve broken the bloody code lad! Actually Kim Kardashian is himself in drag and sweet cheeks at that,eh? The perfumed princes of the Academy fear a lawsuit from CAIR even more than CAIR fears women who can read. Keep a stiff upper lip Sacha, cheers!

      4. Cohen is the greatest film and tv innovator of the past 15 years. You obviously don’t know anything about him.

      5. Obviously, you’ve never seen his films. He’s the funniest and most original comic in film since Charles Chaplin.

        1. Art is a language of expression expressed by a craftsman who has honed his craft beyond that which the average lay person could do. Everyone has something to say, but only few create something worthy of being called ‘artistic.’

  2. Give me a F&*king break. It’s not the Academy that should be ashamed, it’s that ridiculous ‘comedian’.

      1. If Mr. Cohen wants a soap box for his shameless self-promotion, he ought to rent it himself, and not try to leach off the Motion Picture Academy’s event. Certainly it’s their show, so they get to set the rules. Clearly after the 2007 Oscars, he was clear what the behavior expected at the Oscars is…but apparently in his tiny mind, *his* desire for a cheap P.R. splash trumps the right of the Academy to honor others in the way they wish.

        Good for the Academy banning him. I think they should send him a letter telling him he’s under a lifetime ban to the event until he reimburses them for what ever additional exposure his latest filmed junk garners from this stunt, to be put in a scholarship fund for young film-makers.

  3. This is an Award show about movies. Not curing cancer, fixing the debt, ending war, or really anything that fucking matters. There’s a reason why no one watches the Oscars, it’s boring and everyone takes themselves far too seriously. I may watch the horrendous Red Carpets now JUST to see if Sacha Baron Cohen gets on there.

    1. nobody outside of LA or NYC or Robert Redford’s Sundance. that’s for sure. What used to be an hour and a half go up, get your statue, thank you, sit down promptly has become a No-doze 200mg caffeine function followed by another 200mg caffeine pill to get you through all the parties that you’re now a “really awake drunk” at. Can’t they just mail the statues and make a youtube presentation of who won? Costs less and still says Oscar.

  4. He should be banned for that disaster he called a performance in HUGO – I want my Arclight money back from him personally!

      1. With all due respect… this once brilliant, flawless director has lost the plot. He needs to go back to filming corpses in car trunks – YESTERDAY. And a perfect actor for that role would, coincidentally be… SBC.

        1. Thé book successfully panders to à Movie industry That loves to make films about the movie industry; the author knew how to appeal to the milieu and made a bankable book.
          Scorsese fell for it, but made a lame film. Too wooden and unsubtle for adolescents or adults, and too dark for younger children. A pity, because the book is a great book and a great concept, and i treasure my original edition even if I think Selznik’s talent for drawing scenery does not translate fully into a talent for drawing faces.
          The academy nevertheless likes films about films (see also, “the Artist”) and has nominated Hugo a zillion times for this reason more than any intrinsic worthiness.

  5. It doesn’t matter to me as I haven’t watched the Oscars in almost 20 years now. The purpose once was to honor great works and artist. Now it’s a publicity stunt, fashion show, political statement that has no bearing on art, movies or entertainment. Of course if Jerry Springer winds your clock in any way shape or form, then the Oscars might appeal to you.

    1. I don’t know anybody with a pulse who watches these awards. Movies don’t play the role they once did in the US. There are no more role models in Hollywood either just narcissistic dimwits. Speaking of no pulse..Billy Cristal? That is just SAD!

  6. Why doesn’t Sasha just buy the naming rights to the old Kodak Theater? Now known generically as Hollywood and Highland Center. I bet $1,000 would buy him the right to name the theater after his character… The General Aladeen Theater. He’d have the last laugh then as the name of the theater only gets mentioned a million times.

    1. Oh that would be so great. I’m laughing hysterically just reading your post. I hope he reads it, too, and runs with the idea.

    2. Atown, it’s ADMIRAL General Aladeen!

      What are you trying to do, get yourself banned for life from entering Wadiya?

  7. Not a Cohen fan, but he won this fight in every way imaginable. Massive publicity for his movie, embarrassment for The Academy, you name it.

  8. Well, if nothing else, this was a great way for Cohen to get tons of free publicity. The guy is a great actor, writer, comedian and businessman. Gotta hand it to him. I’m sure he’s at home loving the free publicity his new film is getting.

  9. They are pathetic. They should stick to their guns on this and enforce the ban. Sacha will no doubt show up in his dictator costume and he’ll run onto the red carpet hoping to be tackled by security guards. He will arrive in a limo with blacked out windows or he’ll be in the trunk of a limo to surprise everyone and it will be a great publicity stunt.

    1. It’s already a great publicity stunt, and he doesn’t have to show up. Last thing he wants to do is turn public opinion against him now…he’s already won! Great business man and promoter…savvy.

      1. No you’re right, the quality of comedy from “Ali G” to “Borat” to “Bruno” didnt decline from “Original & Great” to “Kinda Lame” to “Tired Crap” /sarcasm. Smoke some more weed and watch Bruno again for the 10th time, retard.

    1. The goal is to promote his movie more than it is to entertain. If I were making decisions with the Academy, I would ban him too.

      1. The Academy decided having like 15 freaking Best Picture nominations was a good idea. It had everything to do with PROMOTING THOSE MOVIES than celebrating their merit.

  10. I’m still trying to figure out why this guy is so funny…
    Sorry folks, this is just another publicity stunt like his last one at the Oscars…

    He’s becoming the Andy Kaufmann of comedy, drop the Latka act, it’s old.

    1. it’s true, his entire act is a redo of Kaufmann’s, heralded as funny and original by mouthbreathing potheads

    1. Feh. Their “rules”. They break the rules of common decency and good manners all the time.

      Break their rules at will, if it suits you.

      The worse that will happen is that you be escorted out, and that will be on camera, and if you have your lines well rehearsed for dealing with the security guards, it could be very comedic.

      Hollywood defending itself on the basis of “rules” is sufficiently ironic to turn a sink brown.

  11. Oh, please. I love Cohen and he’s has gotten everything he wanted from this kerfuffle already. If the Academy now allows him to strut his billboard down the red carpet they look like spineless saps and God know what’s to follow from that precedent. Sacha, baby, strap on your tux and mingle with the muckety-mucks!

  12. or… you know, maybe they just want to want attendees to respect the esteem of the Oscars. For most actors, this is one of the highest nods they can receive and SBC seems to be making a mockery of it. I’m sure it doesn’t sit well with many and i’m sure many are silently applauding the Academy.

    1. That must be the same group of silently applauding actors who haven’t yet discovered that the world outside of Hollywood doesn’t particularly care what they say or do, and looks at the Academy and it’s shills as irrelevant.

    2. You’re kidding right? Esteem of the Oscars? A mockery? Have you ever watched this show? If they wanted this show to be prestigious, they would be having someone from the Academy at everyone’s home before the show to check out some of the horrid, so called couture that these fools where down the red carpet!!! That’s where the ban should start.

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