Academy Caves: Sacha Baron Cohen to Walk Red Carpet

Oscar flap may have been publicity ploy
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2012 2:58 PM CST
Academy Caves: Sacha Baron Cohen to Walk Red Carpet
Sacha Baron Cohen as "The Dictator."   (Paramount Pictures)

Victory is Sacha's! Unless this was planned all along, of course. Turns out the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will let Sacha Baron Cohen walk the red carpet at the Oscars in character from his upcoming film The Dictator. But Deadline Hollywood smells a rat, saying Baron Cohen was always expected to take part in the telecast. And Academy President Tom Sherak is a marketing consultant for Paramount, producer of Best Picture contender Hugo—which includes a star turn by Cohen.

Denials all around, of course. Paramount says it "relented because of all the bad publicity," and Baron Cohen's agency WME says "the Academy ... went to war with us, made threats, got embarrassed, panicked, and reversed their position." Whatever, the whole stunt may backfire if Baron Cohen continues to play up the anti-Semitic side of his Dictator character. To quote his newly minted release: “VICTORY IS OURS! Today the Mighty Nation of Wadiya triumphed over the Zionist snakes of Hollywood." (More Sacha Baron Cohen stories.)

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