Sacha Baron Cohen has released a video haranguing the organizers of the Oscars for withdrawing his tickets for the ceremony. The clip shows the actor in character as Admiral General Aladeen — the leader of the fictional Republic of Wadiya and the main character in his upcoming comedy The Dictator.
Baron Cohen’s third collaboration with director Larry Charles is billed as “the heroic story of a dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy never reaches his country”. It is intended as a satire of totalitarian regimes like that of Muammar Gaddafi.
“While I applaud the Academy for taking away my right to free speech, I warn you that if you do not lift your sanctions and give me my tickets back by 12pm on Sunday, you will face unimaginable consequences,” Baron Cohen says as Aladeen, dressed in a heavily medaled military uniform and flanked by armed guards.
He began by describing the venerable Hollywood institution as “the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Zionists,” before criticizing the lack of recognition for “Wadiyan” films like When Harry Kidnapped Sally, You’ve Got Mailbomb and Planet of the Rapes.
He ended the broadcast with: “Death to the West, death to America. And good luck Billy Crystals.”
Baron Cohen was originally invited to the Oscars for his role in Martin Scorsese’s 3D children’s movie, Hugo, which is nominated for 11 awards. He was hoping to arrive at the Kodak Theatre in character as Aladeen, but the awards’ organizers vetoed the appearance.
“The Academy would love to have Sacha at the show,” a spokesperson for Ampas told the Hollywood Reporter. “We’ve let him know how we feel about using the red carpet for a movie stunt and we’re waiting to hear from him.”
Paramount, the studio backing Baron Cohen’s film, has accused the organization of lacking a sense of humor.
“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,” it told the Deadline blog’s Nikki Finke.