Oscars 2016: Sacha Baron Cohen pushes diversity in character as Ali G

"I is here representing all of them that's been overlooked"

Jacob Stolworthy
Monday 29 February 2016 10:38

In an Oscar ceremony filled with speeches about the issue of racial diversity in Hollywood, one of the evening's most unexpected came via an appearance from Sacha Baron Cohen's alter ego Ali G.

The Staines character was on stage to promote the Best Picture nominee Room alongside actress Olivia Wilde. Never one to shy away from controversy, Cohen used the opportunity to broach the subject of the #OscarsSoWhite campaign that flared up following the announcement of this year's nominations.

"I know what you was thinking when I walked on," he said, addressing the crowd. "Here comes another token black presenter."

He continued: "I is here representing all of them that's been overlooked - Will Smith. Idris Elbow. And, of course, that amazing black bloke from Star Wars... Darth Vader.'

Cohen, whose latest film Grimsby is in cinemas now, had earlier been seen walking the red carpet alongside his wife Isla Fisher; his appearance as Ali G - a character that launched him to stardom - was a surprise to many.

"Now check out a movie about a room filled with white people," he quipped to huge laughs from the audience.

Earlier in the evening, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs also addressed the diversity issue, albeit in a more serious manner.

"Our audiences are global and rich in diversity and every facet of our industry should be as well," she said amidst the news that the Academy will increase the numbers of diverse members in its voting body ahead of next year's ceremony.

You can find a list of the ceremony's full winners here.

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