If you were watching the Oscar Red Carpet arrivals on Sunday, you saw Sacha Baron Cohen’s character from The Dictator get handled roughly by two burly security guys after dumping what he said were the ashes of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il over Ryan Seacrest’s tuxedo. It looked like he was going to be carted off in handcuffs, but what happened after?
Baron Cohen wasn’t removed. He was merely hustled away from the ash-covered Seacrest, and while he was relieved of his urn, Baron Cohen continued to parade in character for a quarter mile of Red Carpet soundbites. He didn’t attend the Oscars, but that wasn’t the Academy’s choice. I’m told the Academy bent over backwards to welcome Baron Cohen. Aside from okaying his Dictator garb choice, they set aside a dressing room so that he could change into a tux after and attend the ceremony. Once he completed that lap, Baron Cohen then entered the dressing room and emerged in his tux. But he did not use the Oscar tickets; he ducked out, got in a limo and headed right over to Vanity Fair’s viewing dinner party at the Tower Hotel. He never even sat down in the auditorium.
I didn’t see Baron Cohen at the Vanity Fair afterparty, but then again, despite his outsized character creations, Baron Cohen himself isn’t a party guy. In fact, when I asked at the weekend parties whether or not Baron Cohen was going to actually show up in Dictator garb, those who should have known didn’t know; they couldn’t reach Baron Cohen last Friday because he was observing the Sabbath and not taking calls. As for the VF party, it had all the stars in the constellation, as usual. Lugging Oscars were Jean Dujardin; Octavia Spencer; Descendants scribes Jim Rash, Nat Faxon and Alexander Payne; Gore Verbinski; and Terry George. They milled around a blue-haired Katy Perry, P Diddy, Gerard Butler, Billy Crystal, Brian Grazer, Michael Douglas, Tina Fey, Harvey Weinstein, Zach Galifianakis, Steve Martin, Natalie Portman, Ben Stiller, Martin Scorsese and a host of others.