Sure, Brad, George, and that silver fox Christopher Plummer captured the Academy’s attention for their strong performances in 2011, but the days leading up to tonight’s ceremony have been dominated by discussion of a more Method performance. News emerged four days ago that Sacha Baron Cohen wanted to walk the red carpet as his character from The Dictator. A day later, the Academy had threatened to deny him entrance, and Cohen was quick to respond. After much haggling, it appears that Cohen has been granted his wish, as he just emerged from a limousine in Dictator drag. Will he create a stir (as he’s wont to do)? Or will it be a stunt-that-wasn’t? More on the story as it develops…
UPDATE: Victory! “The Dictator” just dropped an urn full of “Kim Jong-il’s” ashes on a clearly annoyed Ryan Seacrest. Giuliana Rancic said, “Do you know how lucky you are? Out of every reporter here, he chose you,” though Seacrest seemed less than pleased. For her part, E! correspondent Kelly Osbourne could only laugh in disbelief. Seacrest took several moments to clean the ashes off, finally receiving a towel from a nearby reporter from another outlet. Seacrest: “Now you know why this isn’t taped. Anything can happen, and it most certainly did — all over my lapel.”
UPDATE: Seacrest seems to have gained his composure, as he just just handed a pinch of ashes (or Bisquick, he’s claiming) to Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith. Next up, Tina Fey sympathetically called him “a victim of comedy.” Seacrest: “I’m in the trenches.” And then, Jennifer Lopez approached to ask, “What happened?” That’s what we in the biz calling opening up a can of worms (or ashes, as it were).
UPDATE: E! has posted the video online.
See live video from behind the scenes at the awards at Oscar.com.
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