Following a report yesterday claiming Sacha Baron Cohen was planning to attend the Oscars in the full beard and novelty regalia of his Dictator character, the old white men that run the Academy have responded by making it quite clear that Cohen is not to touch the red carpet in any outfit that could be considered in any way entertaining.
According to Paramount (by way of Deadline), the Academy has banned Cohen from the Oscars, and, "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." Entertaining is not for the Red Carpet! Entertaining is for Cirque du Soleil and Billy Crystal's inevitable line about hosting so often he's almost filled his punchcard. Is he right, people??
Since the statement has come forward, the Academy has tried to step back a little from the whole "banned" thing, assuring THR, "We haven't banned him. We're just waiting to hear what he's going to do." And if what he's going to do is put on a phony beard and demand a grinning but nonplussed Billy Bush address him as "General Aladeen," in that case he's banned. It would sully this sacred night if they let someone draw a lot of attention for what they wore on the red carpet.
The Academy is now "waiting to hear back" from Cohen, so they can decide if he's banned or not. But in the meantime, hey, at least now we know all about the wacky central character in Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator, in theaters May 11!