And then they wonder why ratings are falling and interest is waining. Last year, a big hubbub was created when famous street artist Banksy wanted to come to the Oscars in a monkey mask to preserve his legendary anonymity. He wasn’t even sure if he wanted to come at all but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who nominated the artist’s film for Best Documentary Feature, told him he couldn’t attend if he dressed like that.

This year, Sacha Baron Cohen is one of the leads of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, the film that leads all others with 11 nominations. Rumors had begun circling that he might use the red carpet oppurtunity to dress in full costume and promote his summer release The Dictator, in which he plays the vile leader of a small country. This wasn’t confirmed, it was just a rumor.

The Academy has reportedly now responded to those rumors by pulled Baron Cohen’s tickets, all but banning him from Sunday’s awards. Read more after the jump, including an update. Read More »

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Of the nine movies currently up for Best Picture, Martin Scorsese‘s Hugo is my personal favorite. There’s so much I love about the film, from its eye-popping visuals and impeccable use of 3D to its inspiring tale and lovable performances. I’m not the only one that feels that way, of course — Hugo‘s been a popular pick on many critics’ lists and awards ballots. And now, as Academy voters mull over their final decisions, Paramount is eager to remind everyone of Hugo‘s many wonderful qualities.

The studio has released a six-minute featurette titled “The Magic of Hugo,” which goes behind the scenes to look at the hows and whys of making the picture. Scorsese, editor Thelma Schoonmaker, production designer Dante Ferretti, producer Graham King, visual effects supervisor Robert Legato, composer Howard Shore, and stars Ben Kingsley and Sacha Baron Cohen all appear to discuss their work on the project, and to talk about what made the film so special. Watch it after the jump.

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After months of speculation, rumors, and reports, Tom Hooper‘s Les Misérables has finally found its Éponine. Producer Cameron Mackintosh has just announced that 21-year-old stage vet Samantha Barks has landed the role. Barks is a newcomer when it comes to film and television, but has racked up plenty of experience in the theater — including a stint playing Éponine in a London production of Les Misérables.

Meanwhile, another fresh face, George Blagden, has also boarded the project, in the part of cynical young revolutionary Grantaire. Blagden and Barks join a high-profile cast that includes Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, and Aaron Tveit. Read more after the jump.

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[Update: Deadline now reports that Seyfried is in final negotiations for the role.]

Tom Hooper‘s already star-studded cast for Les Misérables is about to expand by two more, as news breaks that Amanda Seyfried and Taylor Swift have been offered the roles of Cosette and Éponine, respectively. If Seyfried and Swift accept, they’ll also be joining Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Aaron Tveit, and Eddie Redmayne in the musical, which is due out next winter. Read more after the jump.

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The man who brought us Borat, Ali G, and Brüno heads back into the realm of sociopolitical satire in the first trailer for The Dictator, which hit the Web today. Sacha Baron Cohen stars as Middle Eastern despot along the lines of Muammar Gaddafi, who gets sent to the United States in exile and spends his days riding camels down Fifth Avenue, ziplining across Manhattan, and sleeping with Megan Fox. John C. Reilly and Ben Kingsley also star. Watch the first trailer after the jump.

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There’s still no word on who’ll be playing Éponine in Tom Hooper‘s Les Misérables, but the project has landed yet another well-known star to play her father. According to LondonNetSacha Baron Cohen is set to join Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Eddie Redmayne in the musical, in the role of the villainous inn owner Monsieur Thénardier. Helena Bonham Carter was said to be in talks to play Thénardier’s wife earlier this year, but it’s not clear whether she’s actually attached at this point.

Cohen did a bit of singing in his last big-screen musical, Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and is slated to do still more as the lead of that Freddie Mercury biopic from producer Graham King. In terms of non-singing roles, Cohen recently appeared in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, and already has three more movies scheduled to open next year — The Dictator, Madagascar 3, and Django Unchained. Get used to that face, because you’ll be seeing a lot of it in 2012.

Les Misérables opens December 7, 2012. [via The Playlist]

After the jump, a Disney gal decides it’s time to break into more mature territory, and Diablo Cody’s next project finds a mom for Julianne Hough.

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A movie starring Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer, Frances McDormand and Sacha Baron Cohen could get even the most casual movie fan excited. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is exactly that, and yet I’d be lying if I said I was anticipating this one. The series follows a group of Central Park Zoo animals who were shipped back to their native continent and get into crazy adventures trying to find their way back to New York. In this installment, they’re traversing Europe as incognito members of the circus. Directors Eric Darnell and Conrad Vernon present the third theatrical film in the animated franchise, in 3D, on June 8. Check out the trailer below. Read More »

Here’s the latest update on the ever-growing cast for Quentin Tarantino‘s anti-slavery ‘southern’ Django Unchained. You might recall that Tarantino once directed an episode of CSI, and that link could help explain why Rex Linn, known for playing Frank Tripp on CSI: Miami, is the proud owner of a role in Django Unchained. He’ll be Tennessee Harry, according to Deadline.

More startling is the fact that another actor now in talks for the movie is Sacha Baron Cohen, who is escaping the shadows of his Borat and Bruno characters thanks in part to Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. He’s in talks for one of the best characters in the film, too. Read More »

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