‘We’re thrilled to have him,’ Academy Awards producer Brian Grazer says.
By Ryan J. Downey
Action heroes like Rambo may not give in to threats, but Oscar producers caved to “The Dictator.”
Of course, it’s all in good fun. In an interview with “Extra,” producer Brian Grazer confirmed Sacha Baron Cohen will arrive at the Academy Awards on Sunday as his character from his forthcoming political satire, contrary to earlier reports.
“We’re thrilled to have him and he’ll be on the red carpet, I guess, dressed as the ‘dictator,’ ” he told “Extra.” Grazer, a producer on movies like “A Beautiful Mind” and “Apollo 13,” is also producing this year’s Oscars.
In “The Dictator,” Baron Cohen adds the totalitarian leader of a fictitious country to his list of alter egos, which already included Ali G, Borat and Bruno, all of whom have headlined feature films since launching on “The Ali G Show.” He played a supporting role in Best Picture nominee “Hugo” but was insistent about attending the awards show in character as Admiral General Shabazz Aladeen. Earlier on Friday (February 24), the English actor and comedian called in to the “Today” show (as Aladeen) to address his alleged ban from awards.
The “Today” interview came on the heels of a video message on the website for “The Republic of Wadiya,” in which the dictator made a number of threats. “On behalf of the nation of Wadiya, I am outraged at being banned from the Oscars by the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Zionists,” General Aladeen said in the video. “While I applaud the Academy for taking away my right to free speech, I warn you that if you do not lift your sanctions and give me my tickets back by 12 p.m. on Sunday, you will face unimaginable consequences.”
Back in 2007, Oscar producers wouldn’t allow the actor to appear in character as Borat. At press time, a spokesperson for the Academy told The Hollywood Reporter she had not heard about the plans for Cohen for Sunday.
“The Dictator” arrives in theaters May 11.
The MTV Movies team has the 2012 Oscars covered! Stick with us for everything you need to know leading up to the awards show, and head to Next Movie for a printable Oscar ballot. On Sunday, tune into MTV.com at 5 p.m. ET for our two-and-a-half-hour red-carpet live stream and updates on the night’s big winners. To join the live conversation, tweet @MTVNews with the hashtag #Oscars.Read also...