First Banksy, now Borat? Apparently, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences is in the middle of its own drama. According to stories from The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline, the Academy is considering revoking actor Sacha Baron Cohen’s tickets to the 84th Academy Awards, because he asked to attend the show dressed as a totalitarian ruler to promote his upcoming comedy The Dictator.
Deadline had reported that Kimberly Rouch, the Academy’s Managing Director Of Membership, said Cohen’s tickets were on hold until he could assure the Academy he would not be showing up to walk the red carpet in costume. Since then, though, the Academy has denied saying Cohen had been blacklisted. “We haven’t banned him,” an Academy representative told The Hollywood Reporter. “We’re just waiting to hear what he’s going to do.”
In the past, the Academy has been careful to avoid specific film promotions during the show. Though it’s not encouraged, costumes have been permitted at the Oscars in the past. South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker attended the 2000 Oscars dressed as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez. And just last year, Ben Stiller presented the award for Best Makeup, Avatar-style.
That’s not to say Cohen will be allowed to show up dressed as his Dictator character — a tyrannical, sex-crazed leader vehemently against democracy. The Academy is also allegedly worried about his unpredictable behavior. The 40-year-old British actor, most recently starring in Hugo, rode into the 2006 Toronto Film Festival on a wagon pulled by “Kazakhstani peasant women” and dressed as his Borat character from his infamous mockumentary, Deadline reports.
He also tried to present an award at the 2007 Oscars as Borat, but the Academy shut that down in a hurry. More recently, he managed to get his crotch in Eminem’s face as part of a rehearsed stunt to promote his fashion guru character from Bruno at the MTV Movie Awards in 2009.