Despite reports that Sacha Baron Cohen has been banned from the Academy Awards, AMPAS president Tom Sherak has told TheWrap that the comic actor now has his Oscar tickets.
"We want him to come to the show," Sherak said. "But we would like him to come as Sacha."
And Oscar show producer Brian Grazer told Access Hollywood correspondent Tim Vincent that Baron Cohen would be "part of the show … as himself."
Meanwhile, Baron Cohen has responded to the Academy's request that he not use the Oscar red carpet to stunt-promote his new movie …
… by using that request to stunt-promote his new movie.
On Thursday afternoon, the website for Baron Cohen's movie "The Dictator" – which purports to be the site for the fictional Republic of Wadiya, from which the title character hails – ran a one sentence statement:
"Admiral General Aladeen will deliver a formal response tomorrow morning to being banned from the Oscars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Zionists."
And on Friday morning he posted a YouTube video that he said came from a Today Show appearance with ""Matt Lauer's cleaning lady, Ann Curry and the eunoch [sic] Al Roker."
In the video, Baron Cohen sat in a chair in full costume and ranted, "I warn you that if you do not lift your sanctions and give me my tickets back by 12 p.m. on Sunday, you will face unimaginable consequences."
He also berates the Academy for not nominating such Wadiyan films as "When Harry Kidnapped Sally," "You've Got Mailbomb" and "Planet of the Rapes," and says, "I paid Hilary Swank two million dollars to be my date, and she will not refund a penny!"
His conclusion: "Death to the West, death to America, and good luck Billy Crystal. You're fantastic!"
Of course, Baron Cohen is no doubt smart enough to know that disrupting the Oscar carpet to promote "The Dictator" wasn't going to fly with the Academy.
And he's savvy enough to milk the expected response to get more publicity for a film whose trailer suggests that his new character could be significantly less side-splitting than, say, Borat.
(Hey, TheWrap has now posted his video and written two stories about this publicity stunt, haven't we? And other outlets have done far more than that.)
By the way, on the website "Aladeen" also threatens to attack the Nobel committee headquarters if he is denied the Nobel Peace Prize.
Maybe the Academy will offer him a plane ticket to Norway in exchange for those Oscar tickets.