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Baron Cohen's 'Dictator' threatens 'consequences' if Oscar ban continues

Admiral Gen. Shabazz Aladeen is not the sort of man to take an Oscars red carpet-banning lying down. And on Friday, the dictator of the Republic of Wadiya got on the phone with TODAY's Carl Quintanilla and Ann Curry to express his "outrage" over being disallowed from attending Sunday's Academy Awards."Normally I would be impressed by an act of cowardice by a faceless regime," he said. "But this is

Admiral Gen. Shabazz Aladeen is not the sort of man to take an Oscars red carpet-banning lying down. And on Friday, the dictator of the Republic of Wadiya got on the phone with TODAY's Carl Quintanilla and Ann Curry to express his "outrage" over being disallowed from attending Sunday's Academy Awards.

"Normally I would be impressed by an act of cowardice by a faceless regime," he said. "But this is personal. I have issued them an ultimatum: They have until midday on Sunday to give me my tickets back. If they do not, they will see and face unforeseen and unimaginable consequences."

Of course, this "Dictator" is really Sacha Baron Cohen in disguise, and the whole exercise is a very well-orchestrated publicity stunt for his upcoming film "The Dictator." Cohen had hoped to show up on the red carpet Sunday in character, but the Academy – as reported by TODAY's Miguel Almaguer – told him to come as himself, or don't come at all.

Just days before the Oscar ceremony, the banning kerfuffle has made "The Dictator" the most talked-about film in town, and it hasn't even been released. But the controversy has helped save a few lives, if temporarily, as the dictator noted to the TODAY anchors: "I have been very busy today," he said. "I actually delayed 30 executions to do this (interview)."

That said, Admiral Gen. Aladeen is not without his soft side, asking after the anchors' families and inquiring: "How is your eunuch Al Roker?"

While the dictator may be able to watch TODAY in Wadiya, he noted he had not seen the film "Hugo" (which is nominated for several Academy Awards and co-stars Baron Cohen). "The only movies shown in my country are the ones written by and starring me," he said.

Which means that "The Dictator" is bound to win at whatever version of Wadiya's Oscars is in 2013. In fact, it's a good bet it will take home every prize.

But that was not all for Admiral Gen. Aladeen, who later Friday morning posted this video (below) on his website, where he talked more about his "outrage," ending with: "Death to the West! Death to America! And good luck Billy Crystals! You're fantastic!"

"The Dictator" opens in the democracy-loving country of the United States on May 11.

Don’t forget to check out TODAY Entertainment on Sunday evening as we cover the Academy Awards from the red carpet through post-awards interviews. We will live blog the show on Twitter and ask for your thoughts on the fashions and winners on Facebook.

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