Because Sacha Baron Cohen’s new film, The Dictator, could use the press, and because the Academy Awards desperately, desperately needs a reason for people to tune in to a three-hour telecast in which Billy Crystal mugs his way through a series of celebrity backslappery, news broke this week that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will ban the comic actor from the award ceremony if he attends in full costume to promote his new film. And thus, we must now all tune in to see what happens. Well played, Oscars, well played.
Cohen, as you know, is one of the lead actors in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, which is at the head of the nominee-pack with a whopping 11 Academy Award nominations, and was thus set to appear on Sunday night. Then “rumors had begun circling that he might use the red carpet opportunity to dress in full costume” to promote his new film, and the Academy flipped. Their response: revoking all of Cohen’s tickets unless they have assurance he won’t appear in costume and “make a mockery” of the red carpet.
I’m going to repeat that—the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does not want someone making a mockery of the red carpet portion of the ceremony. You know, that one massive chunk of the telecast that absolutely nothing to do with films, film-making, or artistry of any sort, and exists solely to allow TMZ, US Weekly and People Magazine to generate copy.
No word yet on what Cohen’s next move will be, but hopefully it will be one in which he continues to mock a wholly pointless dead limb portion of the Academy Awards.
What do you think of the anti-controversy?