Sacha Baron Cohen will attend the Oscars as 'The Dictator'
Sacha Baron Cohen will be attending the 84th annual Academy Awards as "The Dictator" after all, Oscar producer Brian Grazer confirmed on Friday.
"We're thrilled to have him and he'll be on the red carpet dressed as 'The Dictator'," Grazer told Extra.
The Academy previously asked that the actor refrain from attending the Oscars in character, adding that it would be "inappropriate" for Cohen, who appeared in the Best Picture nominee "Hugo," to promote his movie at the Award show.
"We absolutely respect him as an artist and he's allowed to come," Grazer told Access Hollywood, adding, "In fact, he's even part of the, there's a piece - he's part of the show... as himself."
On Friday, Cohen issued a video "press conference" on NBC's "Today Show" as General Aladeen, addressing the "Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Zionists," threatening to make things difficult if they did not invite him to the Academy Awards.
"While I applaud the Academy for taking away my right to free speech, I warn you that if you do not lift your sanctions, and give me my tickets back by 12pm Sunday, you will face unimaginable consequences!" Cohen said in the video, which can be seen below.
In the video, Cohen's Aladeen also jokes that he has already paid actress Hilary Swank $2 million to attend as his date. The jab refers to Swank's appearance at the 35th birthday bash of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on October 5, which earned her a reported six-figure paycheck.
The actress was criticized by the human rights activist group Human Right Watch, who accused Kadyrov of various human rights violations including torture, abductions and killings.
"The Dictator" is set to hit theaters worldwide on May 11, 2012 and stars Sacha Baron Cohen as a foreign dictator who comes to America. According to a statement from the studio, the film tells the story of "a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed."
"The Dictator" was reportedly inspired by the novel "Zabibah and The King" that was purportedly written by Saddam Hussein, who was executed in 2006 in Iraq after being found guilty of crimes against humanity. The book tells of an Iraqi ruler who marries a villager against her will and even rapes her, which is supposed to be symbolic of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in the early 1990s.
The movie is directed by "Seinfeld" writer Larry Charles, who helmed Baron Cohen's previous movies "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" and "Bruno."
Other stars set to appear in the film include Megan Fox, John C. Reilly, Anna Faris and Ben Kingsley. Reilly and Baron Cohen co-starred together in "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby."
Baron Cohen, 40, rose to fame in his native United Kingdom as the television personality Ali G. The "Borat" and "Bruno" films are based on his side characters, an overly-friendly Kahzakh reporter and a fashion expert. While in character, the comedic actor speaks with people in various locations and scenarios, often making sexual or rude remarks.
In 2006, Cohen attended at the Toronto International Film Festival as his Kazakhstani TV reporter character Borat, arriving on a cart pulled by women dressed as peasants. He later attended the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards as his fashion-obsessed gay character Bruno. During the ceremony, was dropped by suspension cords over Eminem's face. It was later revealed that the rapper was in on the joke.
Baron Cohen also starred opposite Johnny Depp in the 2007 musical film "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."
Baron Cohen was recently cast to play Monsieur Thénardier, a comical con artist and bar owner dubbed the "Master of the House" in a new musical movie adaptation of the Broadway show "Les Miserables," according to IndieWire.com. The film also stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway.
Baron Cohen married Australian actress Isla Fisher, 36, in 2010, after being engaged for nearly six years. The couple has two children, Olive, 4, and Elula, 1.
Billy Crystal is returning to host the 84th annual Academy Awards. The ceremony will air live on Sunday, February 26, 2012 on ABC, OnTheRedCarpet.com's parent company.
OnTheRedCarpet.com will have complete coverage of the Oscar season, including an exclusive interactive live stream show LIVE from the red carpet. Follow @OnTheRedCarpet on Twitter and "Like" On The Red Carpet on Facebook, and download our FREE entertainment news app for the iPhone and iPad
Watch Sacha Baron Cohen's "press conference" and the trailer for "The Dictator" below.