Never one to shy away from controversy, Sacha Baron Cohen now wants to take the game of using awards shows to have fun and promote his movies to a whole new level by going to this weekend’s Academy Awards dressed as the titular figure of his upcoming movie, The Dictator.
The Cambridge-educated British actor, already well known for his controversial characters like Ali G, Borat, and Brüno, has reunited with director Larry Charles for The Dictator, which will tell,
“the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.”
Add to that the fact that the film is a loose adaptation of the novel, Zabibah and the King, widely believed to have been written by Saddam Hussein, and you can see the controversy even before the film gets into theatres.
Personally, I’m a big fan of Baron Cohen’s movies, and the things we’ve seen from The Dictator so far have been great, promising a lot of fun when the movie hits in May.
THR report that he was invited to attend the Oscars as part of the Hugo cast, which has been nominated in the Best Picture category, among many others. And Baron Cohen has informed Paramount, the studio behind Hugo and The Dictator, of his wishes. As yet, there’s no word on whether or not he’ll be allowed, as THR note:
“the stunt would potentially distract press attention from the night’s nominees, and executives at rival studios — most of whom are attending — might scoff at the promotional effort.
The Academy is careful to exclude studio-specific film promotion from its annual Oscars telecast (it only recently allowed movie ads to run during commercial breaks), so Cohen’s stunt would likely be limited to the pre-show (it’s unclear whether a similar policy applies there), unless he makes an argument that the Academy can’t prohibit him from wearing what he wants to the show.
As an interesting side-note, Cohen was floated as a possible Oscars host two years ago but was apparently vetoed by Academy leadership due to concerns over his button-pushing comedy.”
So how things will turn out on Sunday night (and in the early hours of Monday morning here in the UK) remain to be seen. The Dictator will be released in the US on 11th May before coming to us in the UK a week later on 16th May. It should be a lot of fun.