Sacha Baron Cohen’s Planned Oscar Night ‘Avatar’ Spoof Canned By The Academy

by George Loomis

Sacha Baron Cohen’s next role had nothing to do with Borat, Brüno or any of his other personalities from “Da Ali G Show.” This time? Cohen planned on appearing in blueface at this Sunday’s 2010 Academy Awards ceremony, parodying James Cameron’s nomination-leading mega-hit “Avatar” by dressing up as female Na’vi star Neytiri (Zoe Saldana in the movie). No matter how funny it sounds to all of us at MTV, Academy spokeswoman Toni Thompson confirmed that Oscar couldn’t see eye-to-eye with Cohen, and the idea was axed before it came to completion.

The planned skit would also have featured Ben Stiller as a bumbling translator who couldn’t adequately move between English and the Na’vi language. When the Pandora natives become frustrated over their words being twisted, Cohen’s Neytiri reveals the meta twist: that he (she?) is carrying James Cameron’s love child.

Cohen undoubtedly did not take well to the news, as he has now reportedly canceled any Oscar appearance all together. The comedian has built a business around shaking things up at award ceremonies: he sat on Eminem’s face at the 2009 MTV Movie Awards and he mocked Madonna at the 2009 Golden Globe Awards. His cutting remarks usually spark immediate laughter, but the Globes crowd was more shocked than they were amused by his comments about the pop superstar and her ex-husband, filmmaker Guy Ritchie.

As for the Oscars, the Academy claimed that the skit was being scrapped out of respect for Cameron. But would Cameron take something to heart that’s fairly innocuous to begin with? This is a guy who has frequently said that you don’t ask a woman about her next child when the new baby is crowning, his colorful stock response for deflecting sequel questions.

Cohen’s rep Matt Labov confirms “creative differences” as the reason for the split. But is this yet another case of someone taking something too seriously, and is the Academy potentially driving away a good thing? What do you think?

Tune in this Sunday for MTV’s live Oscars coverage! The festivities kick off at 6pm with a live streaming red carpet show and a fashion-focused live blog on Hollywood Crush. Then head over here at 8pm when the awards show begins to follow our running commentary in MTV’s Academy Awards live blog.