Sacha Baron Cohen lived up to his Excellence in Comedy title received at BAFTA LA Britannia Awards by pulling a prank that left celebrity guests at the event gasping in shock. The comedian sent an elderly woman in a wheelchair flying headfirst onto the floor when he was about to deliver his acceptance speech on stage.
The frail woman was initially introduced by presenter Salma Hayek as 87-year-old Grace Cullington, the oldest living actress who worked with Charlie Chaplin when she was a child. She was knocked off the stage by the "Borat" star when the cane she gave to him broke while he was doing a Chaplin dance.
It took a moment for the stunned A-list crowd to realize that they got punked and the woman who lied motionless on the floor was not really a child star from Chaplin's movie. "Grace Cullington is the oldest, no, sorry, was the oldest surviving [Chaplin co-star]," he said to the audience who burst into appreciative laugher.
"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," the funnyman continued.
"I'd like to say a few words to her family," he added. "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."
Other honorees included Benedict Cumberbatch, who was presented with Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year by his "12 Years a Slave" castmate Chiwetel Ejiofor and his "Star Trek Into Darkness" co-star Alice Eve, and Idris Elba given the Britannia Humanitarian Award by fellow star Sean Penn and Mandela's daughter Zindzi.
Ben Kingsley received from presenter Sigourney Weaver an Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Entertainment, and George Clooney was introduced by Julia Roberts as the recipient of Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film.
Kathryn Bigelow, who became the only female filmmaker to win Oscar's best director title thanks to her 2009 film "The Hurt Locker", got John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing.
The show airs Sunday night, November 10 on BBC America at 9 P.M. ET.