Sacha Baron Cohen is threatening to hijack the glitziest film show on earth before it has begun, as his latest comedy creation warned of "unimaginable consequences" if the organisers of the Oscars banned him from the ceremony.
The Academy fears the Borat star will disrupt the show by turning up as spoof Middle Eastern despot Admiral General Aladeen, the lead of his new comedy The Dictator. One spokesman said: "Stunting on the red carpet will not be tolerated." In response, Baron Cohen yesterday released a video in character demanding his tickets to the ceremony be returned. "I am outraged at being banned from the Oscars by the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Zionists." The Academy said he has not been banned, although Deadline Hollywood reported the tickets would only be handed over following assurances he would not show up on the red carpet in costume. General Aladeen signed off his broadcast yesterday, saying: "Death to the West. Death to America ... And good luck Billy Crystal; fantastic."