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The look-alike of the actor famous for his roles in such films as Dumb and Dumber, The Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Man on the Moon briefly appeared onstage at the glitzy 22nd annual Czech Lion awards, which aired live on national television in the Czech Republic Saturday evening.
See more Oscars 2015: Best and Worst Moments
The man, smartly dressed in a black tuxedo, waved to the audience at the gala event at Prague’s venerable 19th-century Rudolfinum concert hall before leaving without uttering a word after showering himself with gold confetti fired from a party-popper.
Some members of the audience can be seen in a clip of the televised show smiling and shaking their heads in disbelief.
When some members of the audience and television viewers raised doubts about the man’s identity, Sverak and the show’s host Lucie Vyborna initially insisted he was the real McCoy.
“Of course, the real Jim Carrey was on stage. I knew he would come, but did not know what he would do there,” Vyborna told a Czech newspaper shortly after the ceremony. “He appeared for a very short time and people did not have a chance to recognize him. I have heard people suggesting it was a look-alike, but I can say no, it was really him.”
Organizers were later forced to issue a correction when news reports emerged proving that the genuine Hollywood star was attending a party in Los Angeles Saturday night. Carrey himself eventually caught wind of the story, tweeting about his amusement.
Look! I’m more interesting than the Oscars while plunked on my couch eating chips. MY SPIRIT WILL NOT BE IGNORED! ;^P http://t.co/ey6CnmbwEE
— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) February 23, 2015
Sverak, who won both a Golden Globe and Oscar in 1997 for his film Kolya, said that awards show organizers at the Czech Film Academy had been approached by people claiming to represent Carrey. They said they were told the star was filming in Prague and insisted on keeping the appearance secret for security reasons. There had been no reason at that point to doubt that, Sverak said, according to press reports.
“We have become very likely the target of a very elaborate hoax. I’m so sorry,” Sverak said after the impostor was exposed, adding, “I am very sorry, I apologize. It was not my intention, but I must salute someone’s perfect game in managing to con us.”
The Czech Film Academy, which insisted no money had been paid for the man’s appearance, put on a brave face, joking it was “a comedy worthy of Andy Kaufman” that it could only be compared to “selling [a Czech] castle to gullible Americans.” Carrey played eccentric American entertainer Kaufman in Man on the Moon.
In a statement apologizing for the incident, the organization, which represents Czech filmmakers, said: “We are sorry we misled you, but it was not done out of malice. None of us lied because we were honestly perfectly and professionally duped! It amuses us, and if you are not offended you can laugh with us…. We promise that next time the Czech Lions will be without foreign stars (unless Elvis Presley promises to attend.)”
The identity of the fake Carrey is not known; he and his team left the venue immediately after the brief appearance and have not been traced.
The incident did not prevent gritty Czech social drama The Way Out (Cesky Ven) winning the best film honor. The evening was also notable for an appearance by Jiri Bartoska, president of the Czech Republic’s annual Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Bartoska, who is being treated for cancer has not been seen in public since November, appeared without his trademark thick hair and beard, but news agency CTK reported he was “in a good mood.”
Watch a clip of the fake Jim Carrey’s appearance below.
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