Hit or Miss? Prankster Sacha Baron Cohen invades the Oscars - again

Sacha Baron Cohen was led away from the red carpet during the Oscars after arriving dressed as his despot character General Aladeen from upcoming film The Dictator.

Urning your PR stripes: Sacha Baron Cohen stunt (Rex Features)
Urning your PR stripes: Sacha Baron Cohen stunt (Rex Features)

With controversy stirred up over whether he would be allowed in, Cohen then tipped what he claimed were the ashes of the late North Korean autocrat Kim Jong-Il onto the carpet and E! TV presenter Ryan Seacrest's tuxedo.



We can't deny that the annual Baron Cohen Oscar stunt generated traction: people talked, some of them laughed as well, thrusting his movie forward into the public consciousness. While I applaud the chutzpah, the disadvantage of doing something ballsy is that it stretches creativity. You also have to question whether a British blend of Beadle and Morris was the best way for transatlantic prankery to generate ink.

Two questions are begged. One, did they know it was coming? And two, what does it mean for Baron Cohen and Hollywood? Stuntsters would like to think it came as a surprise to Seacrest. If it did, we must wonder how much longer the staid academy will tolerate a maverick, albeit one who makes overseas audiences laugh. It was disruptive, but was it clever enough to keep him ahead?


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