Sacha Baron Cohen stole the show at the Oscars on Sunday when he stepped onstage as beloved wanksta Ali G. But the appearance wasn’t just a surprise for the audience and viewers at home — it was actually expressly forbidden by the Academy, Baron Cohen revealed this morning.
“The Oscars sat me down beforehand and said they didn’t want me to do anything out of order,” Baron Cohen said in an interview with Good Morning Britain. “They wanted me to actually just present it as myself.”
So, Baron Cohen took matters in his own hands, and sneakily wrangled his wife Isla Fisher to help him put the costume on backstage. According to Fisher, the pair hid themselves in a disabled washroom for over half an hour, applying the fake goatee and fending off suspicious inquiries by saying the Borat star had food poisoning.
All geared up, the comedian then joined Olivia Wilde onstage to introduce Room and Brooklyn as Best Picture nominees.
“I know what you was thinking when I walked on: ‘Here comes yet another token black presenter,’” Ali G declared during his triumphant return.
On the red carpet before the show, Baron Cohen and Fisher were also outspoken about the lack of diversity at this year’s awards, touching on the “institutional racism” present in Hollywood.