British actor-comedian Sacha Baron Cohen announces he will attend the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, after claiming that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has retracted its ban on the actors attendance and “sent over two tickets and a parking pass.”
In a statement posted on a website promoting Cohen’s new movie the Dictator, Cohen announced that he had “triumphed over the Zionist snakes of Hollywood. Evil and those who made Satan their protector were vanquished and driven into the Pacific Sea,” and that he will attend the ceremony.
On Friday, Cohen released a YouTube video in which he, in character of Admiral General Aladeen from his upcoming movie, in which he expressed his outrage “at being banned from the Oscars by the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts, and Zionists.”
But the extent of that victory is hardly complete. According to conversations Reuters held with Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences officials who did not wish to be identified, many within the Academy still feel very strongly that the Oscar red carpet is not an appropriate setting for promotional stunts.
However, rather than engaging in a war of words with a man adept at manufacturing outrage, AMPAS opted to give him his tickets, which were part of the allotment given to Paramount, which released "Hugo" (in which he appears). They did so while making their preferences clear to the studio and Baron Cohen's reps.
The Academy also asked Paramount and Baron Cohen's team to inform them of his plans, so that logistical arrangements could be made to have the proper security and facilities ready.
While Baron Cohen posted in-character diatribes on the film's website and on YouTube, his reps had not yet given the Academy any information about what he planned to do on Sunday. Producer Brian Grazer, though, told "Extra" that the comic actor would "probably" appear as the Dictator.
Baron Cohen does appear as himself in a pre-taped film package on the show.
"Do we have concerns?" said an Academy official on Friday night. "Yes. Did we say, 'Please stunt the red carpet?' No.
"Will he be coming as the Dictator? Only Sacha knows."