Sacha Baron Cohen, known alternately as Borat, Bruno, Ali G, and most recently, Admiral General Aladeen, has issued his reaction to being banned from this year's Oscars. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Cohen, who is Jewish, issued his response in character as the fake Islamic Dictator Aladeen, whom he will portray in the upcoming film The Dictator:
"Admiral General Aladeen will deliver a formal response tomorrow morning [Friday] to being banned from The Oscars by the Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Zionists," reads the brief announcement on Cohen's website.
This Ahmadinejad-esque response, delivered in character as it is, is unlikely to represent Cohen's actual views. However, the response is still likely to raise a firestorm of controversy, given that it satirizes not only the Academy, but the general refusal by liberal institutions to acknowledge Muslim-Jewish tensions, especially in Middle Eastern countries ruled by actual dictators. Deadline reports that the Academy itself is having difficulty working out how to respond:
Insiders tell me that all morning and afternoon the Academy has been internally debating whether to allow Baron Cohen on the Red Carpet in full uniform as a fictional Middle Eastern General Alladeen and then allow him to change into a tuxedo to attend the show which was his plan all along. Baron Cohen not only is an Academy member, but he’s also one of the stars of Paramount’s 11-nominated film Hugo which is a Best Picture contender. “There’s a debate inside the Academy of how to respond,” an insider tells me. “Certainly the perception is that they lack a sense of humor which got a strong reaction. They are debating what to do. But so far they have not changed their official position.”
Lacking a sense of humor or not, the following quote from Paramount Pictures' spokespeople will surely strike some readers as almost deliberately oblivious to irony:
“Unless they’re assured that nothing entertaining is going to happen on the Red Carpet, the Academy is not admitting Sacha Baron Cohen to the show,” Paramount told me yesterday.
Readers are urged to weigh in below not only as to the correctness of Paramount's decision, but also as to whether anything entertaining ever happens on the Red Carpet. The trailer for the film follows: