Entertainment & Arts

Academy denies Sacha Baron Cohen Oscars ban

Sacha Baron Cohen as The Dictator
Image caption The Dictator is expected to be released in May

British comedy actor Sacha Baron Cohen has not been banned from attending Sunday's Academy Awards, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

US reports suggested the Borat star had been told not to attend if he went dressed as a character in his new film.

An Academy spokesman said Cohen was still welcome to attend the event, but it was not "appropriate" to use the Oscars to plug new film The Dictator.

A Cohen spokesperson was unavailable for comment.

The Hollywood Reporter wrote a story on Tuesday suggesting the star, who has been invited to the awards as a cast member of Oscar-nominated film Hugo, was intending to go to the ceremony dressed as the protagonist in forthcoming film The Dictator.

Promotional pictures for the satirical comedy, about an autocrat "who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed" show Cohen dressed in a white military uniform, with sunglasses and a long dark beard.

"We don't think it's appropriate," an Academy spokesperson said. "But his tickets haven't been pulled. We're waiting to hear back."

The Dictator is a loose adaptation of the novel Zabibah and the King, which is believed have been written by the former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

The film, which features Megan Fox, Anna Faris and John C Reilly, is scheduled to be released in May.

Image caption In 2006, the actor turned up to the Toronto Film Festival dressed as TV presenter Borat

It is not the first time the Ali G star has used industry events to promote his movies.

In 2006 the actor arrived at the Toronto International Film Festival dressed as Borat, the main character from the hit comedy.

Three years later he went to the MTV Video Music Awards as Bruno, to promote his movie of the same name.

During the show he was launched into the air wearing a harness and landed in the lap of US rap star Eminem, who stormed out - although it was later reported that the musician had been in on the act.

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