A sketch poking fun at the Oscar-nominated blockbuster Avatar has been nixed from this weekend’s Academy Awards, taking Sacha Baron Cohen along with it. The man behind Ali G, Borat, and Bruno had been tipped to add a new role to his repertoire — Oscars presenter — at this year’s ceremony, but plans to have Baron Cohen join fellow comic actors Jason Bateman, Steve Carell, Tina Fey, and Ben Stiller in handing out statuettes have been yanked over fears that the funny guy would offend Best Director nominee James Cameron.
According to New York Magazine’s Vulture Column, Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman, who are producing the Oscar telecast, pulled sketch over fears that the Avatar director might get so angry that he’d walk out of the ceremony. An unidentified tattles told the column that Baron Cohen intended to appear onstage in character as a female Na’vi, whose statements would be translated by Ben Stiller. Baron Cohen would become increasingly angry with Stiller’s obviously false translations, and then reveal that “she” was pregnant with James Cameron’s love child.
Last month, Shankman revealed that Sacha was the first choice to host this year’s ceremony, but noted that “the Academy swatted it down. They thought it was too big of a wild card.”
Academy spokeswoman Toni Thompson confirms that Baron Cohen is no longer presenting citing “creative differences.”
The 82nd Academy Awards will be presented this Sunday, March 7 at the Kodak Theatre and broadcast live on ABC.