This is such bullshit: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has reportedly banned Sacha Baron Cohen from attending the Oscars on Sunday, because he submitted a proposal that he walk the red carpet dressed as his character Supreme Leader Shabazz Aladeen from The Dictator. He didn’t even plan to disrupt the show; he just wanted to do the stunt during arrivals and then change into a tux for the ceremony.
But instead of simply refusing, the Academy has decided to make an example out of him: They’ve pulled Sacha’s tickets to the ceremony. As a Paramount rep explained to Deadline, “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.” Ironically, their problem was with Sacha promoting the movie at an awards ceremony… but by showing themselves to be humorless hardasses, they’ve unwittingly given him all the promotion he needs.
Why humorless, you ask? Because other gags have gotten past the producers with no problem. An Oscars spokesperson released this statement yesterday: “We would hope that every studio knows that this is a bad idea. The Red Carpet is not about stunting.” But what about 2000, when South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone showed up in imitations of Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow‘s famous gowns?
The decision is also pretty hypocritical. Consider that the Academy put known performance artist James Franco on the stage last year to host a boring show where he was probably high, and yet they won’t let Sacha have some fun outside the theater. Plus, he’s part of the cast for Hugo, which has eleven nominations including Best Picture!
The Hollywood Reporter got a statement from an Oscars spokesperson who’s now saying that they haven’t banned Sacha, but that they’re “just waiting to hear what he’s going to do.” However, that doesn’t sound any more promising, and the non-promotional clause is still firmly in place.
It’s a bummer that neither Sacha nor his wife Isla Fisher will be able to attend the ceremony. Especially since she stars in Sundance darling Bachelorette, which many are calling the new Bridesmaids. Wouldn’t it be ironic and uncomfortable if the movie garnered a Best Original Screenplay nod next year and the two got to walk the red carpet?