The funniest moment of last night’s almost tearfully boring Academy Awards had nothing to do with Billy Crystal‘s hosting duties, which were apparently ripped from a Catskills comedian back in the 70s. No, the best moment was Sacha Baron Cohen showing up on the red carpet, fully in character as Admiral Aladeen of Wadiya to promote his upcoming movie The Dictator.
This was supposed to be a big deal, since Mr. Baron Cohen, who co-starred in Martin Scorsese‘s Hugo, was allegedly told by the Academy not to promote his movie through some viral marketing stunt on the red carpet. The Borat actor replied earlier last week in the form of a YouTube video and a phone call on Today, then went ahead and showed up as Admiral Aladeen anyway.
In a move that was obviously preplanned with E!’s knowledge, but still funny anyway, Mr. Baron-Cohen’s character “accidentally” spilled the ashes of Kim Jong Il all over red carpet host Ryan Seacrest. Oh no he didn’t!
To make this hoax-pas even more weird is the statement from Oscars producer Brian Grazer, who insisted on Friday: “We’re thrilled to have him and he’ll be on the red carpet dressed as The Dictator.”
Which leads us to believe that it was part of the movie’s marketing to have the Academy pretend to warn him about showing up in character (after all, the AMPAS officials who didn’t want the Dictator on the carpet were never identified), to make it seem even more outrageous and subversive when he showed up.
Man, that it some next-level strategy shit. Though we guess if Mr. Baron Cohen can’t get organizations outraged by his antics anymore, he’ll just have to keep coming up with more and more elaborate ways of faking it.