Sacha Baron Cohen's Dictator banned from the Oscars
Academy pulls Borat star's tickets until he pledges not to appear on red carpet as a Hussein-like tyrant
SACHA Baron Cohen has never been afraid of upsetting people, from Newt Gingrich to a Palestinian militia group and the entire nation of Kazakhstan. Now he is causing distress among Hollywood's finest at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Rumours emerged yesterday that Baron Cohen planned to turn up at this Sunday's Oscars as 'Admiral General Alladeen' – the lead character of his upcoming film The Dictator, which satirises Middle Eastern despots.
According to Deadline, the Academy has pulled his tickets until he promises not to appear as his latest alter ego. "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," the actor's studio Paramount told the site.
Organisers have long been at pains to discourage attendees from promoting upcoming ventures at the event; they have only just started allowing adverts for new films to be shown during the commercial breaks of the awards broadcast.
The Academy denies "banning" Baron Cohen, telling The Hollywood Reporter they are "just waiting to hear what he is going to do". But the Deadline blog insists withholding his tickets still amounts to a ban.
Baron Cohen attended a number of high-profile events previously in character. Dressed as the half-naked gay fashionista Bruno, Baron Cohen 'fell' bottom-first onto Eminem after being suspended by wires above the crowd at the 2009 MTV Movie awards.
In 2007, he refused to present one of the Oscar awards after organisers forbade him from dressing as Borat, his well-known Kazakhstani character.
The Dictator, dubbed "the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed", is the comedian's third collaboration with director Larry Charles. The 84th Academy Awards will take place at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday.