It’s a well known fact that the Academy Awards are a tightly-run ship with weeks of planning and near endless rehearsals going into the show, so the last thing you want involved in a process like that is a wild card. Enter Sacha Baron Cohen.
The Academy really should have known from reputation alone that bringing the Borat star on to present an award was a bad idea, especially after his 2012 appearance when his character from The Dictator turned up and managed to pour an urn full of (what he claimed were) Kim Jong-il’s ashes over the night’s host Ryan Seacrest.
Yet, despite his previous bad behaviour The Independent reports the comedian was asked to present (as himself) at this year’s Academy Awards – of course that went as well as putting a fork in the microwave. Unbeknownst to them, Cohen wandered out on stage as Ali G and introduced himself as ‘just another token black presenter’.
Baron confessed to his prank while appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain breakfast show.
The truth is we actually had to sneak it in, because the Oscars sat me down before and said they didn’t want me to do anything out of order, they wanted me to actually just present it as myself…But luckily my wife put on the Ali G beard in the disabled toilets, and I managed to get away with it.
His wife, fellow actor Isla Fisher, claims the pair locked themselves in the bathroom for 40 minutes to transform Cohen into Ali G, with Fisher having to pretend her husband had come down with food poisoning.
I mean, there were a few moments I was a bit worried how they’d react to the first gag…But I bumped into Chris Rock actually on the way on and pitched him the gag, and he gave me the thumbs up, so I went for it.
Funnily Cohen’s routine was pretty tame and Ali G didn’t go crazy, appearing as just another joke about the #OscarsSoWhite debate.
At least he didn’t come out as Nobby… thank god for small mercies.