The first win of the 2012 Oscars went to Sacha Baron Cohen, who triumphed in his tug of war over whether or not he would be permitted to walk the red carpet as “The Dictator.” Too bad for Ryan Seacrest.
“Welcome, Brian," said Cohen, wearing the regalia of Admiral General Aladeen, aka "The Dictator." "Hello, death to the West! I am wearing John Galliano, but the socks are from K-mart… As Saddam Hussein once said to me, ‘Socks are socks. Don’t waste money.’”
When asked about how happy he was to be in attendance, The Dictator shared the story of a beloved colleague.
"It gave me an opportunity to bring my dear friend and tennis partner, Kim Jong-il. It was his dream to come to the Oscars and be sprinkled over the red carpet and Halle Berry’s chest…” at which point the urn he was carrying spilled all over a visibly surprised Seacrest.
"It’s OK, for you, no? If somebody asks you, what are you wearing, you can say Kim Jong-Il,” shouted Cohen as he was whisked away.
In the days leading up to the Oscars, a PR battle was waged between Cohen and the Academy, who said they would not allow the actor to walk the red carpet as Admiral General Aladeen.
"Unless they’re assured that nothing entertaining is going to happen on the Red Carpet, the Academy is not admitting Sacha Baron Cohen to the show," a Paramount rep told Deadline.
The Academy said otherwise tried to suggest otherwise.
"We haven't banned him," an Academy spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. "We're just waiting to hear what he's going to do."
As it became clear that public sentiment was on the side of Cohen, Oscars producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer had no choice but to relent.
"He'll be on the red carpet, I guess, dressed as The Dictator ... unless he changes his mind at the last minute," Grazer told Extra.
"Honestly, I've heard rumors but I haven't had a chance to keep up with all this,” added Mischer.
"The Dictator" opens May 11.