The BAFTA LA Jaguar Britannia Awards last night saw the usual glitz, glam and speeches — with one exception: Sacha Baron Cohen accidentally killed an elderly woman by pushing her off the stage.
Well, not really. But the attendees definitely thought so — for a good couple of seconds.
Presented with the Charlie Chaplin Britannia for Excellence in Comedy at L.A.’s Beverly Hilton Hotel, Baron Cohen was joined onstage by Grace Cullington, the oldest surviving Chaplin co-star, who appeared in “City Lights” at the age of 5!
What started out as an “aww” moment for the audience as Cullington bestowed Chaplin’s actual cane from “City Lights” onto his comedy heir — which the “Borat” star used to pay homage to the tramp’s signature penguin waddle — quickly descended into complete and utter disbelief when he tripped and suddenly sent her flying into the crowd.
Talk about shock and awe. The black-tie-clad guests didn’t realize that this was a stunt until Baron Cohen returned to the stage with a semblance of a eulogy for the tragically “deceased” actress:
“Grace Cullington is the oldest, no, sorry, was the oldest surviving [Chaplin co-star],” he deadpanned. “I dedicate my award to her. This is obviously a tragedy. She has upstaged me. But on the bright side, what a great way to go, giving an award to me. Thus, she’ll probably make the Oscars In Memoriam segment.
“I’d like to say a few words to her family: Do not try to sue me. If you decide to get the lawyers involved, I will take you down just like I did your granny. The cane that woman forced on me was clearly defective and I’ve got lots of witnesses. At least 400 in this room and at least 500 watching on TV. Anyway, tonight is not about her, it’s about me.”
Welcome back Sacha. We’ve missed you.
Only One Casualty at the BAFTA Awards...
Anne Cohen was the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not looking for the secret Jewish history of Voodoo in New Orleans, or making lists about Ruth Bader Ginsburg , she writes for The Assimilator. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism with an M.S. magazine concentration in 2012.