Maria Bakalova (‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’): From breakout comedy star to first-time Golden Globe nominee?

Don’t be too surprised if breakout “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” star Maria Bakalova scores her first-ever Golden Globe nomination when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announces its nominations on Feb. 3. Bakalova has been hovering just outside the top five for the last few weeks in the Best Film Supporting Actress category, according to our combined odds, and is currently sitting pretty in sixth place with 21/2 odds.

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” is actor-comedian and Globe champ Sacha Baron Cohen‘s follow-up to his 2006 smash hit mockumentary “Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”

Bakalova co-stars as Tutar Sagdiyev, Borat’s 15-year-old daughter who accompanies her father on his latest stateside mission to offer up his daughter to current U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. In a series of uproarious scenes mostly filmed in secret, Borat and Tutar uncover, often brutally, the hideous underbelly of the divided social and political climate in America. They eventually return to the motherland as acclaimed Kazakh journalists after run-ins with right-wing media, the Conservative Political Action Conference and most notoriously, President Donald J. Trump‘s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

SEE Rudy Giuliani is already the favorite to win something this election season – a Razzie for ‘Borat 2’

In that humiliating scene towards the end of the film, Bakalova impersonates a journalist and interviews the former mayor and then invites him into an adjacent bedroom. As Giuliani removes his microphone, he lies on the bed and places his hand in his pants, at which point Baron Cohen crashes into the room screaming that Bakalova is only 15 and, hilariously, is “too old for you!” In the aftermath of the film’s premiere on Amazon Prime Video, social media exploded, criticizing Giuliani for being caught “red-handed” in a compromising position with a woman he knew to be a minor. Giuliani has since predictably denied any wrongdoing, but the scene remains one of the most talked-about of the year, thanks in part to Bakalova’s performance.

It can be a tough road to Globes glory in the catch-all supporting categories because they are often more competitive than the lead acting categories, which are split between dramas and comedies/musicals. However, Best Supporting Actress seems relatively wide open for now, as the five actresses currently ahead of Bakalova are hardly locks at this stage.

Case in point, while previous Globe winner Glenn Close was the early front-runner, her film “Hillbilly Elegy” might be handicapped by, uh, mixed reviews, whereas “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” like its predecessor, has been a hit with critics, garnering a 85 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 68 out of 100 at Metacritic. Similarly, the other contenders in the top five — Olivia Colman (“The Father”), Amanda Seyfried (“Mank”), Saoirse Ronan (“Ammonite”) and Ellen Burstyn (“Pieces of a Woman”) — aren’t necessarily shoo-ins at this stage of the race either.

SEE With ‘Borat’ sequel, Sacha Baron Cohen is poised to repeat his impressive awards streak

Bakalova, on the other hand, may be gathering momentum for her hilarious and endearing performance. Perhaps she’s the proverbial apple in a bag of oranges — a laugh-out-loud comedic performance that is equal parts cringe-worthy and endearing, and which ultimately and unexpectedly steals the show. Let’s not forget surprise gatecrashing scene-stealers in the Globe supporting races like Simon Helberg in “Florence Foster Jenkins” (2016), Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder” (2008), and Emily Blunt in “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006), all of whom beat out more “serious” contenders to score a spot in their respective categories. Very nice!

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Golden Globes 2021 Best Film Supporting Actress predictions

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