When you invite Sacha Baron Cohen to your awards show, you should probably expect the unexpected.
He didn't disappoint Saturday night at the BAFTA LA Britannia Awards when, after receiving the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy, the "Borat" star did a quick dance, tapped his cane a few times and stunned the crowd of Hollywood heavyweights by tripping and knocking a wheelchair-bound 87-year-old woman off the stage and into the audience.
It took the Beverly Hilton crowd a moment to realize who it was on stage, and that the elderly woman who pitched into the crowd wasn't really the oldest living actor to have worked with Chaplin himself, as she had been introduced by Salma Hayak. After those beats, the black-tied attendees roared with appreciative laughter.
As for the woman, she was (comedically) pronounced dead and carried out of the ballroom. In his acceptance speech, Cohen was quick to remind the crowd that the moment was about him, not her.
The stunt was reminiscent of one that Oscar producer Joe Roth pulled in 2004, when the wheelchair-bound honorary Academy Award winner Blake Edwards, known for the slapstick humor of his "Pink Panther" movies, was replaced by a stuntman and sent careening across the stage and through a breakaway wall as "he" came onstage to accept his award.
Besides Cohen, George Clooney, Kathryn Bigelow, Idris Elba, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ben Kingsley also accepted awards from the Los Angeles branch of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Sean Penn, Julia Roberts and Sigourney Weaver were among the attendees.
The show airs Sunday night on BBC America at 9 p.m. ET.
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