In the battle of egos between Sacha Baron Cohen and the Oscars last night, we have a very clear winner.
Originally, Cohen was banned from debuting his Dictator character (the star of his next mockumentary) at the awards show, reportedly because humorless Academy fogies suspected he was trying to pull a publicity stunt. (Duh.)
However, perhaps after realizing that the hype could be mutually beneficial...
... head Oscars planner Brian Grazer told Access Hollywood last week that General Aladeen was welcome to pull his stunt on the world's most respected red carpet. "We absolutely respect him as an artist and he's allowed to come," said Grazer.
Looks like the old/white/male Academy is still trying desperately to earn Gen Y's approval, after last year's failed Hathaway-Franco ordeal.
But alas, its cool streak stopped just short of accommodating an urnful of ashes all over Ryan Seacrest.
So security kicked the cruel leader of the Republic of Wadiya and his hot Nazi babes back out onto the ghetto streets of Hollywood for the rest of the show.
No biggie! Here's why he's still the winner:
First, Oscars producers featured Cohen as a talking head in a cheesy celebrity-interview segment that aired to millions during the ceremony.
Then, when the giant Oscars poster was stripped from the billboard above the ex-Kodak Theater at the end of the night, guess what went up in its place? A giant promotional poster for The Dictator, according to KNX news radio.
There's also one on La Brea...
... and the intersection of National and Olympic.
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Meanwhile, last night's tired Billy Crystalfest is being widely criticized as boring and predictable.
— General Aladeen (@RepublicWadiya) February 25, 2012
The "Dictator" came, and he conquered.