Rumours are spreading that actor Sacha Baron Cohen plans to attend this year’s Academy Awards as his latest comedy character from the film The Dictator – despite being warned not to by event organisers.
Cohen is no stranger to causing controversy by attending high-profile events in-character, but the Academy Awards could present him with the opportunity to pull off his biggest stunt to date.
Back in 2006, the actor turned heads at at the Toronto International Film Festival by arriving as his character of Borat, in a cart which being pulled by ‘Kazakhstani peasant women’, in an attempt to promote his latest film of the name same. Cohen was also offered the opportunity to present an award at the 2007 Oscars ceremony, but declined after being refused permission to appear on stage dressed as the same character.
One of his best-remembered stunts took place at the 2009 MTV Movie Awards, where he appeared as flamboyant fashion reporter, Bruno, and was lowered from the ceiling into the crowd – landing bare-buttocked on Eminem. Although the rapper appeared to storm out of the ceremony in anger, it was later revealed that the incident had been planned, with Eminem in on the joke.
However, while Cohen may have been allowed to construct and rehearse extravagant stunts at other such events, the Oscars is rather a different matter. The Academy has always asked studios not to promote their upcoming projects at the ceremony, and has only recently allowed adverts for upcoming releases to be aired during the commercial breaks.
Cohen has, in fact, been invited to attend the Oscars as part of the cast of Martin Scorsese‘s Hugo, which is nominated for Best Picture. If he does decide to make an appearance as Admiral General Alladeen – the “dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed”, who is reportedly based on late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi – then it may well be regarded as a tasteless publicity move at what is usually a high-class event.
Will Cohen heed the warnings of the Academy? We’ll have to wait until the 26th February to find out.
The Dictator is released in the UK on 18th May.