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Sacha Baron Cohen: Oscars appearance as Ali G was against Academy’s orders

Comedian had been asked to present best picture nominee as himself but changed into costume in disabled toilets with help from wife Isla Fisher

Sacha Baron Cohen


Sacha Baron Cohen has revealed his appearance as wannabe gangster Ali G during the Oscars ceremony was in defiance of the Academy’s request for him not to appear in character.

“The Oscars sat me down beforehand and said they didn’t want me to do anything out of order, they wanted me to actually just present it as myself, ” Baron Cohen said in an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme.

Cohen revealed that he had to essentially sneak Ali G into the show, with the help of Fisher: “The truth is we actually had to sneak it in. The Oscars sat me down beforehand 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.”

“I had to pretend that he wasn’t feeling well in the bathroom so that no one…” Fisher admitted later that night at the Vanity Fair Oscars party, when Cohen jumped in to add, “I was in the disabled toilet for 40 minutes sticking the beard on. I had to claim food poisoning.”

Baron Cohen said he had been concerned about the response to his appearance, “but I bumped into Chris Rock on the way on and pitched him the gig and he gave me the thumbs up, so I went for it”.

The very best Oscars quotes: ‘Hollywood is sorority racist’ Read more Baron Cohen won acclaim for his stint on stage, in which Ali G poked fun at the diversity debate by calling himself “just another token black presenter” and describing the kidnap thriller Room as “a movie about a roomful of white people”.


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