Maria Bakalova for Oscars? Sacha Baron Cohen Says It’s a ‘Travesty’ If Academy Snubs ‘Borat 2’ Star

Zack Sharf
·2 min read

Sacha Baron Cohen won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy thanks to his performance in the 2006 mockumentary “Borat,” but an Oscar nomination did not follow. The Academy only acknowledged “Borat” in the Best Adapted Screenplay race. Baron Cohen hopes that won’t be the case for the much-buzzed-about sequel, “Borat Subsequent Movie Film,” and is already touring his breakout co-star Maria Bakalova for an Oscar nomination.

“She’s an incredible actor,” Baron Cohen said during a recent video interview promoting “Borat 2.” “We interviewed 600 young women from all around the world and she’s hilarious. She is one of the most courageous actors in history. If she doesn’t get nominated for an Oscar then that’s a travesty.”

Baron Cohen continued, “She’s hilarious and has the capacity to deliver a scene and make you cry. That’s what finally got her the part. When we did the breakup scene in the movie, I had to stop it because I felt myself getting quite emotional. She’s one of a kind. Imagine coming to America for the first time and you’re playing a role with real people in some terrifying situations. She got through it all. She’s a revelation.”

Bakalova stars in “Borat 2” as Tutar Sagdiyev, the 15-year-old daughter of Baron Cohen’s eponymous character. The actress has proven to be the breakout sensation of the comedy sequel, most notably for a controversial interview she did with Rudy Giuliani that ended with the two of them drinking in a hotel room and getting touchy with one another. Bakalova is a Bulgarian actress who has left many critics impressed with how she keeps up and surpasses at times Baron Cohen’s trademark improvisational comedy.

In his review of “Borat 2,” IndieWire chief critic Eric Kohn called the sequel “a welcome showcase for Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova,” adding, “She scores some of the movie’s most outrageous moments, from a grotesque period gag at a debutante ball to a monologue about masturbation delivered to a terrified meeting of older women Republicans. Their shock is our subversive delight: the opportunity to see a restrictive world forced to confront its boundaries and unable to process their existence.”

IndieWire’s awards expert Anne Thompson noted in her Oscar analysis of “Borat 2” that “the slight Supporting Actress category might welcome rising comic star Bakalova.” Baron Cohen is certainly hoping for a nomination. “Borat 2” is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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