Academy vetoes Borat as Oscar host

Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:21am EST
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By Gregg Kilday

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Credit the producers of next month's Oscar ceremony for thinking way outside of the box.

Interviewed Thursday by Teri Gross on National Public Radio's "Fresh Air," Adam Shankman was asked how he and Bill Mechanic had set about shaking up the ceremony.

The always-candid Shankman revealed that when he and Mechanic first met for lunch, they immediately agreed that the person who should host the show would be none other than Sacha Baron Cohen.

Would Cohen have appeared as himself -- the Cambridge-educated Brit who was nominated for an Oscar three years ago for writing "Borat"? Or as one of his comedy alter egos: the hip-hop Ali G ("Booyah!"), Kazakhstan journalist Borat ("Very nice!") or the ever-fashionable Bruno ("That is such a Samantha thing to say!")?

Unfortunately, we'll never know. For, Shankman said, just as quickly as they told the Academy of their idea, "the Academy swatted it down. They thought it was too big of a wild card."

Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin will instead host the March 7 event at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

<p>A poster showing Alec Baldwin (L) and Steve Martin as hosts of the 82nd annual Academy Awards is seen at the bottom of the steps to the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in the Academy's headquarters building after the nominations announcements in Beverly Hills February 2, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>