Written by: FFT Webmaster | February 28th, 2012
While the night was dominated by THE ARTIST, the person who may have gotten the biggest bang for his buck on Oscar night was British actor/comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. The BORAT and BRUNO star, who has a history of publicity stunts, was warned by the Academy last week that he would be banned from walking the red carpet as his new character in THE DICTATOR, a vaguely Middle Eastern despot modeled on Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadafi. The Academy relented, allowing Cohen to walk the red carpet but not enter the theater in costume. He had a moment with E Entertainment anchor Ryan Seacrest live on camera where he dumped the supposed remains of Korean dictator Kim Jung Il from a funeral urn on the tv host, creating a viral moment that was seen around in the world in moments. Talk around the stunt has almost eclipsed the Oscar event itself.
Prior to the ceremony, Cohen produced a series of videos in his THE DICTATOR character, wagging his finger repeatedly at the camera and dressed in the uniform and beard of the leader of the fictional Republic of Wadiya, insisting he should be allowed to attend. “It is act of aggression that no Wadiyan films have been recognized by the Academy”, the comedian complained. “Where are the nominations for such classic films as ‘When Harry kidnapped Sally, ‘You’ve got Mailbomb,’ or ‘Planet of the Rapes’?” On top of all of this I paid Hilary Swank two million dollars to be my date, and she will not refund a penny. My Sunday calendar is now as empty as a North Korean grocery store,” he raged on. The reference to Swank was to her apology last October for taking part in the 35th birthday party for Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, who has been accused of human rights abuses in the Caucasus republic.
After the incident with Ryan Seacrest, Cohen was led away by security guards who seemed quite serious. Less than an hour later, however, Cohen was back in his tuxedo inside the Oscar theater as part of the entourage for the Martin Scorsese film HUGO, in which he had a prominent role. He did not make any further attempts to disrupt the show but the show’s producers made certain that he did not appear live on camera during the Oscar telecast. The Academy has vehemently denied that it was somehow in on the whole stunt. Kudos to Cohen for getting the world talking about his new film, which will premiere in May. To view the red carpet episode, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhAg0COnqds