UPDATE: The gauntlet was thrown and the Academy has answered. Wadiya's Supreme Leader Shabazz Aladeen (a shameless Sacha Baron Cohen) declared a comedy jihad with an impassioned response to his being banned from the 84th Academy Awards. Find out how the publicity stunt of the season gets even more calculated now that he's been invited to attend.
After having his tickets to attend the Oscars this Sunday unceremoniously pulled by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts, actor Sacha Baron Cohen made good on his reputation as a provocateur. The Oscar-nominated comedian has stolen a huge share of the media spotlight this week, but his desire to storm the Oscars red carpet dressed as his newest screen creation will go down as an incredibly orchestrated publicity stunt. The highlight of the campaign arrived with a tongue in cheek "statement" the actor issued earlier Friday, an expertly timed bid of promotion for his latest confrontational comedy, The Dictator.
The video message, which featured Cohen elaborately dressed as the Supreme Leader Shabazz Aladeen of Wadiya, is a rather tame slice of political satire. Aladeen spits out his contempt for Western society, saving his best jabs for a carefully selected list of celebrities, including his paid escort Hilary Swank (for $2 million non-refundable dollars) and fallen Oscar broadcast director Brett Ratner ("It's impossible to catch herpes twice"). After declaring "Death to the West," he politely wishes a "good luck to Billy Crystals."
How much further will Cohen go to milk this punchline? Watch the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday, February 26, broadcasting live from the newly named Hollywood and Highland Center, to find out as Cohen (as Aladeen) storms the red carpet.
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