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Envelope-pushing actor-writer Sacha Baron Cohen has been removed from the list of presenters for this Sunday's Academy Awards telecast. According to New York magazine's Vulture blog, the controversial star of Borat and Bruno was scheduled to do a comedic sketch with Ben Stiller that has now been yanked by Oscar producer Bill Mechanic.
Apparently the sketch mocked the Oscar-nominated box-office juggernaut Avatar, and Cohen, 38, would play a blue Na'vi character who reveals that he's pregnant with director James Cameron's baby. While the idea seems downright low-key compared to Cohen's previous awards show stunts (Eminem, anyone?), producers ultimately feared it would upset Cameron, 55.
Insiders reveal to Vulture that Cameron "isn’t known to be, shall we say, 'self-deprecating'" and they legitimately feared the director "might even walk out of the Oscar broadcast on live TV." Academy spokesperson Toni Thompson confirmed Cohen has, in fact, been taken off the list of presenters.
Cohen will now stay in London instead of heading out to Los Angeles for the show. His spokesman Matt Labov told Vulture, "I hate to use the term, because it's so ubiquitous, but there were 'creative differences,'" adding that the consequent decision was "nothing acrimonious."
The 82nd Annual Academy Awards, hosted by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, airs live on Sunday, March 7 (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.
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