As reported Thursday, Sacha Baron Cohen is still a welcome guest at Sunday's Academy Awards -- just not as the General, the despotic ruler he plays in upcoming comedy The Dictator.
(After reports surfaced that the Hugo star, 40, was banned from the awards fest, an Academy rep explained it didn't seem "appropriate" for Cohen to come in costume, but "his tickets haven't been pulled."
"Sacha is definitely upset that he’s not being allowed to attend the event as the General," a source tells Us Weekly. "In his mind, this is the kind of stuff that the Oscars needs!"
Continues the source of the elaborate prankster, who has crashed past events in character as Borat, Bruno and Ali G: "He loved doing bits on other award shows, but messing with the Oscars was definitely going to be a welcome addition to his collection of pranks."
No one was supposed to know of The General's appearance on Sunday in the first place, adds the source. "He wanted it to be a surprise and to keep everyone aloof, which he enjoys, but the media went and messed with his fun. He's bummed about the whole situation."
The star (who has two young daughters with actress wife Isla Fisher) still plans to attend, the source notes.