The Academy has warned Sacha Baron Cohen not to show up to the Oscars in character as “the Dictator,” the title character from his upcoming fantasia on Middle Eastern themes. As Mr. Cohen’s films rest somewhat on the tension between his invented characters and shocked but credulous citizens, and as he’s run out of citizens that aren’t aware of his characters, his last recourse is to bother celebrities and celebrity journalists–as he did at the MTV Movie Awards to promote Bruno.
Mr. Cohen is a co-star in the ceremony’s most-nominated film, Hugo, but would prefer to promote upcoming projects than rest on kid-friendly laurels. Per an Academy spokesman: ”We would hope that every studio knows that this is a bad idea. The red carpet is not about stunting.” By way of context, the Academy warned the anonymous graffito/documentarian Banksy not to wear a mask to last year’s ceremony when he was nominated for Exit through the Gift Shop; the South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone went, the year they were nominated for Best Original Song, in costume as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez.
While we’re pleased to be spared Mr. Cohen’s promotion cycle for The Dictator for one more weekend, the Academy ought to warn Best Actress nominee Rooney Mara, who attends every awards ceremony in character as the girl with the cyberpunk gown and the saddest smirk in the world.