Oscars 2012: Sacha Baron Cohen not barred — yet
Not that "The Dictator" is a likely nominee for the 2013 awards. But Cohen, who did appear in this year's best picture nominee "Hugo," had been expected to attend the show Sunday as part of that film's contingent.
Word started going around Tuesday, though, that Cohen would walk the red carpet disguised as General Aladeen, his character from "The Dictator."
While red-carpet reporters are always keen to ask stars about their upcoming projects, the academy frowns on the idea of promoting future movies during the Oscars; for instance, presenters of awards are never introduced as "star of the upcoming film.... "
Academy of Motion Pictures President Tom Sherak told The Times that he called Paramount Pictures, the studio distributing "The Dictator" (as well as "Hugo"), and told them "it's a bad thing to do" because it would make a mockery of the red carpet.
Paramount representatives declined to comment on the matter. But sources suggested that the studio may be claiming it is unable to control the star of its big summer release, in which Cohen plays a political strongman working to ensure that democracy never comes to his oppressed nation.
Reports circulated Wednesday afternoon that the academy had pulled Cohen's tickets for the Oscars, but an academy spokeswoman said no decision on the matter had been made and they were trying to learn more about Cohen's intentions.
— Nicole Sperling and John Horn
Photo: Asa Butterfield plays Hugo Cabret and Sacha Baron Cohen portrays the station inspector in the movie "Hugo." Credit: Jaap Buitendijk / Paramount Pictures