David Woods
February 27, 2012

Sacha Baron Cohen-Ryan Seacrest Encounter Has Everyone Talking (WATCH!)

The organizers of the Academy Awards initially asked Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen to cancel his plans to show up to the event in full costume, but they eventually reneged when they realized that any publicity stunt he pulled would only create buzz around their event. The Academy Awards people like to think of themselves as above all that stuff, but ultimately what matters is that the public pays attention and nothing would generate more attention than a ridiculous publicity stunt from one of the world’s leading comic actors.

In the end, Baron Cohen showed up in character and we got to see the stunt that everyone would be talking about this morning… sort of. Baron Cohen was dressed as the lead character from his upcoming Middle East-meets-America comedy The Dictator and he encountered Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet prior to the Oscars ceremony and proceeded to dump what he said were the ashes of deceased North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il all over the American Idol host. Take a look:

Forgive me for thinking that this whole thing was pretty lame and forced. Even though this is the first time many people are seeing Baron Cohen’s new character, it already feels stale. Essentially, it’s just Borat in a military uniform. It also feels about five years too late. Are the wacky dictators in the Middle East (many of whom have been ousted by recent uprisings) still a good source of comedy? I’m not so sure.

With the benefit of hindsight, I wish the Oscars people have stood firm to their demands that Baron Cohen scuttle his plans to steal the spotlight. The whole thing feels cheap and not even worthy of the red carpet before the MTV Movie Awards.