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Sacha Baron Cohen vs. Hollywood: A reason to watch the Oscars

February 24, 2012|By Rene Lynch
  • Sacha Baron Cohen plays the station inspector alongside Asa Butterfield in best picture nominee "Hugo."
Sacha Baron Cohen plays the station inspector alongside Asa Butterfield… (Paramount Pictures and…)

Sacha Baron Cohen just made the Oscars a lot more interesting.

Let's face it, the Academy Awards aren't all that scintillating for many Americans. One of the front-runners, "The Artist," is a black-and-white silent film that has earned rave reviews but barely made it out of art house theaters.

Enter Cohen, who wants to show up on the red carpet for Sunday's televised Oscars ceremony as woolly-faced Adm. Gen. Shabazz Aladeen, the star of Cohen's upcoming movie "The Dictator." And Cohen, in character as Aladeen, is threatening "unimaginable consequences" if the academy doesn't let him do just that.

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So what's the big deal? Well, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is absolutely opposed to such hijinks. It would detract from the elegance of the ceremony and throw an unknown into an event that is meticulously orchestrated and choreographed. Moreover, it would be unseemly; the academy does not want to be seen as promoting the film.

Cohen, of course, is a self-promotional genius.

He is an internationally recognized celebrity thanks to films such as "Borat," which had a box office haul of more than $261 million worldwide, and the animated "Madagascar," which took in more than $532 million globally.

Yet Cohen manages to disappear off the radar until it's time to start building buzz for his new projects. 

Cohen is slated to be at the Oscars on Sunday because he plays the mustachioed station inspector in "Hugo," the Martin Scorsese film that is among the best picture nominees.

Now, we'll all have to watch -- just like Cohen wants -- to see what happens next. And don't put anything past Cohen. Remember, this is the guy who proudly donned an over-the-shoulder, neon green, thong bathing suit to promote "Borat."

Here's the video of Cohen's "threats" made during a hilarious segment on NBC's"Today" show where the hosts try, and fail, to manage the call in any way.


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