British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen may be banned from attending the 84th Academy Awards, Deadline Hollywood reports, even though he is an Academy member and one of the stars of Hugo, which is up for 11 awards at the ceremony. Cohen had planned to attend the event in full costume as the title character from his forthcoming film, The Dictator.
"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," a representative of Paramount, the studio for Hugo, told Deadline Hollywood. Unless Cohen agrees to these terms, his tickets will not be issued.
The Academy frowns on actors alluding to future projects at the Oscars; when presenters are introduced, no mention is made of their upcoming projects. Sources suggested that Paramount may be feeding the controversy by claiming it can't control its star, who plays a tyrannical dictator in the new film.
"We would hope that every studio knows that this is a bad idea," a representative of the Oscars told Deadline Hollywood about the matter. "The red carpet is not about stunting."
The Academy has denied Deadline Hollywood's report. “We would love to have Sacha Baron Cohen at the Oscar show," a spokesperson for the Academy told CNN this morning.. "We have expressed [to Cohen] that we don’t like our red carpet to be used as a promotional stunt. We’re waiting to hear from him. We’ve put the ball in his court."