BREAKING: The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is concerned that, on Sunday, Sacha Baron Cohen will come to the Oscars and walk the Red Carpet. While ordinarily that would be fine since he’s a big international star, the Academy is dismayed that he’ll come dressed as the title character in his upcoming Paramount comedy The Dictator. That proposal has been floated with the Academy, and I’m told that everyone involved in the ceremony is adamantly against it on the grounds that it makes a mockery of what Hollywood considers its most prestigious event.
An Oscars spokesperson acknowledges the rumors but isn’t sure if it’s actually going to happen. Said the spokesperson: “We would hope that every studio knows that this is a bad idea. The Red Carpet is not about stunting.” I’ve heard his plan is to come dressed as The Dictator and then change into a tux and attend the Oscars. He’s not scheduled to present an award, but he could certainly arrive as part of the Paramount contingent. That studio has a Best Picture nominee in the Martin Scorsese-directed Hugo. Why the subterfuge? Because at 2007’s 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 The Powers That Be said, “No way.”
But 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. While it will certainly be interesting to hear his answer when the Red Carpet’s TV hosts ask who he’s wearing, Baron Cohen would be pushing the envelope. Then again, since the change in producers was made, these Oscars have been incredibly sedate. The prospect of Baron Cohen’s Red Carpet walk is the closest thing to drama I’ve heard about this show.
This would not be 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.
I will add Paramount’s response when I get one from the studio. Below is the Super Bowl ad for The Dictator: