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What's the best way to honor one of the all-time great kings of physical comedy? Sure, you can do the iconic Charlie Chaplin walk, with your toes turned out and a cane in hand, as Sacha Baron Cohen does early in his acceptance speech for the Charlie Chaplin Award For Excellence in Comedy, which he received at the BAFTA Brittania Awards. But the real kicker comes at the end, when the cane snaps, Cohen tumbles, and knocks into the wheelchair that holds Grace Cullington, a former child actor who worked with the real Chaplin himself.
Wait, did Sacha Baron Cohen really just knock an elderly lady out of her chair and on to the floor? You don't see the ruse break in this clip, but yes, it is a ruse, just like Borat wandering around America or General Aladeen dumping Kim Jong-Il's ashes all over Ryan Seacrest on the Oscars red carpet. Baron Cohen, a master of keeping a straight face even when his pranks have worked perfectly, managed to set up a stunt woman in the wheelchair ahead of his acceptance speech, and seemed to genuinely surprise an entire audience full of people as famous as George Clooney and Kathryn Bigelow. And you thought Bruno landing on Eminem's face during the MTV Movie Awards was the best moment Sacha Baron Cohen would ever have in an awards ceremony.
With his characters from Da Ali G Show apparently having run their course, and The Dictator as a notable disappointment from 2012, Baron Cohen's future is fuzzier now than ever-- he's dropped out of what sounded like a really exciting Freddie Mercury biopic, he's nearly a year away from his last screen role in Les Miserables, and he's hiring writers for a project called The Lesbian, though there's no word on when it might move froward. His roles in Les Miserables, Hugo and Sweeney Todd suggested Cohen could have a great future as supporting player in high-profile ensemble films, but as this Charlie Chaplin award indicates, he really has the potential to be a star. It's just a question of whether or not audiences seem to agree.
Revisit Cohen's ass-to-face encounter with Eminem from the MTV Movie Awards below, and let us know you if you think his future really is best spent as a kooky awards show guest.