As the norm with its predecessor, Borat Subsequent Moviefilmfound itself in the limelight very quick, as the news cycle found itself dominated by the Sacha Baron Cohen hit throughout the weekend. The long-awaited follow-up features the American film debut of Bulgarian actor Maria Bakalova, someone who's since garnered unanimous appraisal for her role in the feature. In fact, Cohen himself has since come out in support of the actor getting an Oscar nomination in her breakout film.
Speaking with IndieWire, Cohen said it would be a "travesty" if the Academy didn't recognize Bakalova for her performance. The comedian says she was cast after the production spoke with upwards over 600 candidates.
“She’s an incredible actor,” Cohen told the site. “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.”
He added, “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.”
In the movie, Bakalova plays Tutar Sagdiyev, the teen daughter of Borat.
Fortunately enough for the actor, she's eligible for an Oscar this year, even despite Borat 2 heading straight to streaming. Earlier this year, the Academy set aside its regular policy of mandating theatrical releases for its nominees as a direct result of coronavirus-related box office shutdowns.
“The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater,” Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a press release announcing the change earlier this year. “Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering. Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules.”
For the most part, any movie scheduled April-onward has been delayed to next year, if not the year after. As it stands now, Sony's Bad Boys for Life currently leads the American box office with a domestic gross of $204 million. Sonic the Hedgehog is in second place domestically with a box office haul of $146M. Those are the only two features to break the $100M benchmark domestically this year.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is now streaming on Amazon Prime.