They can’t say they weren’t ready. In the days leading up to the Oscars ceremony, the Academy initially tried to put a stop to Sacha Baron Cohen from arriving on the red carpet in full General Aladeen regalia to promote his latest comedy The Dictator. But the controversial comic actor, who is no stranger to awards show stunts, prevailed (the leader of the Republic of Wadiya claimed “victory” late last week when Oscar producer Brian Grazer gave the go-ahead) and appeared on the red carpet of the 84th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday.
But the big question the morning after the madness is, did you find yourself laughing or wincing at the whole thing? (Cohen, that is. Though that might be applicable for the telecast itself.) It’s safe to say that red carpet liaison Ryan Seacrest was none too amused by the antics of Cohen’s latest troublemaker General Aladeen, particularly when he dumped the “ashes” of late dictator Kim Jong-il all over his tux. Watch it again to be the judge, and because there’s no way you weren’t going to watch it again:
There’s no doubt that Cohen’s latest stunt was successful in that it got people talking, but will all that chatter actually translate to a box office victory when the movie is released on May 11 or will the bit grow tired by then? With the exception of Meryl Streep’s upset, this was an Oscars utterly void of any big moments (and that really tells you something when the night’s biggest shocker is that Meryl Streep was rewarded for her work), and Cohen was one of the few stars to actually shake things up. And much like red carpet trailblazers before him (don’t think we forgot you, Trey Parker and Matt Stone) his jaw-dropping act on the red carpet may be remembered as the funniest and most daring thing from this year’s Oscars.
Then again, some could see it as a strange turn for Cohen, who has made more of an effort to not go the way of controversial comedy (see: his serious turn in Hugo) since 2009’s Brüno. Plus, we know what’s coming: A General Aladeen impression could get as old as a Borat impression in record time.
But tell us, PopWatchers, what did you think of Cohen’s latest effort? Was it effective in that it grabbed people’s attention and made them want to laugh at The Dictator in theaters? Or did it all seem stale and out of place? Did it diminish the classiness of the Oscars in some sense or, for year that felt particularly self-congratulatory, was it just what the Academy needed to bring it back down a few pegs? Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments section below.
For more on the Academy Awards, see live video from behind the scenes at the awards at Oscar.com.
Sacha Baron Cohen’s Dictator spills ‘ashes’ all over Ryan Seacrest — VIDEO
Sacha Baron Cohen claims victory, will walk red carpet as Dictator: ‘Today Oscar, Tomorrow Obama!’
EW’s Oscars 2012 coverage