Sacha Baron Cohen may be Oscars' big winner

Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:37pm EST
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Forget the Oscar nominees. The real winner of Sunday's Academy Awards may well end up being comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen and his next film, "The Dictator."

Together with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who host the Oscars, Cohen and the producers of the show have been playing a cat-and-mouse game with the media over whether the British actor was banned from the red carpet if he showed up as his "Dictator" character.

Word he was barred made headlines earlier this week, and by Friday the irreverent comedian, dressed as "The Dictator," posted a video online voicing his "outrage" at Oscar organizers.

But was he ever truly prohibited from attending?

It seems unlikely because after a few days of "will he or won't he" speculation, one celebrity TV show quoted Oscar producer Brian Grazer as saying he would appear on stage at the show, which has been in planning stages for months.

Friday, another TV show cited Grazer as saying not only would Cohen appear as part of the telecast, his "Dictator" would walk the red carpet.

"VICTORY IS OURS! Today the Mighty Nation of Wadiya triumphed over the Zionist snakes of Hollywood...What I am trying to say here is that the Academy have surrendered and sent over two tickets and a parking pass! TODAY OSCAR, TOMORROW OBAMA!" the character, Admiral General Aladeen of the fictitious Middle East country, posted on the film's official Twitter feed Friday.

Academy representatives were not immediately available, rather conspicuously, for additional clarification.   Continued...

Actor Sacha Baron Cohen attends the premiere of "Hugo" in New York November 21, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Thayer