Reactions are still pouring in from this morning’s newly minted Golden Globe nominees, but perhaps the most excited of them all is “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” star Maria Bakalova.
The actress — who is up for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy — was overjoyed during TheWrap’s Zoom call with her Wednesday morning. Within seconds of joining the call, she rattled off about a dozen different adjectives for the “many emotions” she’s feeling, covering her face with her hands in excitement and embarrassment. This nomination, she explained, isn’t just a big deal for her, but also for her country, as she’s become the first Bulgarian to ever be nominated for a Golden Globe.
“I have so many words in my mouth right now, so many emotions. It’s unbelievable,” Bakalova said. “It’s something bringing people big hopes and big dreams, and how dreams can happen and dreams can come true, and we should take risks. Because if you jump, yeah you might fall, but you might fly.”
Bakalova watched the nominations announcement with her agent Cade Hudson and was blown away to be grouped in among stars that she grew up watching and idolizing.
“The moment when they announced it, it was literally a blackout. I couldn’t start jumping or crying or screaming, nothing, a blackout for a second,” she said. “And then 30 minutes later, I realized it is actually happening, is this possible to happen? It’s still like a dream, it’s still like a fairytale, and it’s something I will always be grateful for Sacha [Baron Cohen] and this part that I have been given.”
Bakalova has been asked dozens of times about the scene in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” where she interviews Rudy Giuliani, but on Wednesday, she got the chance to reflect on some of the film’s other memorable moments, including some that didn’t make the final cut. At one point, she said, the crew visited another “scary” political rally in Richmond, Va., not unlike the now infamous one that required Sacha Baron Cohen to make a quick escape. Bakalova also cut her hair for another dramatic scene that she said made her feel empowered and rebellious — only for it to wind up on the editing room floor.
But one of her favorite moments was the hilariously crass dance scene she and Baron Cohen performed at a Southern debutante ball.
“It’s so crazy because it’s like hypnosis. You completely forget about anything, and when you have this action, you stop thinking that much about the scene and how crazy it is,” Bakalova said about dancing in front of all those strangers. “But it was fun, it was really fun. But of course people were like, ‘What is happening here?’ But we still had some people who were supporting and clapping, and it was a really interesting social experiment.”
Now that she’s Maria Bakalova, Golden Globe nominee, there’s a chance Hollywood is going to come calling. The actress said she’s spent the last 12 years of her career playing teens in various forms of distress, like “teenager with mental illness” or “teenager with disabilities” or “teenager committing suicide.” But “Borat” and Baron Cohen gave her the chance to make her “comedic debut” and find her funny side.
And while she’s now eager to do more comedy, Bakalova said she hopes whatever film she tackles next will have the same “strong message” that “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” had.
“I want to work on projects that are going to have strong messages, that are going to document the times that we’re living in,” she said. “Our movie is a comedy, it’s a really strong satirical movie, but behind all the silliness, behind all the jokes, there are some really important messages about equality, about how we should support each other more and how we are all equals. It’s something interesting about the arts. We have a certain amount of time on this planet, on this Earth, as human beings, but the art somehow stays forever.”