After the runaway success of his 2006 mockumentary Borat, lead actor Sacha Baron Cohen is back with a sequel that promises to up the ante in terms of satire and dark comedy. This time around, Baron Cohen's dim-witted lead character of Borat is joined by his 15-year-old daughter Tutar, portrayed by newcomer Maria Bakalova. In an interview, Baron Cohen stated his confidence in his young co-actor snagging a Best Actress Oscar for her role in Borat 2.
"She's an incredible actor. 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."
While the first Borat was a cult hit, it was also criticized for its misogynistic jokes. Many believed such a film would be impossible to make in the present world of social media outrage.
Sacha Baron Cohen smartly side-stepped such concerns by providing space for the female perspective in the form of Tutar. The new movie also makes its own share of anti-women jokes through certain scenes, but this time around, we get to see Tutar react to such scenes and even evolve through them.
Thus, the Borat sequel improbably ends up having a strong side-plot regarding Tutar's liberation from the patriarchy on her path to becoming her own person. According to Baron Cohen, Bakalova's performance is a crucial part of Tutar's appeal among audiences.
"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."
Social media has already heaped praise on Maria Bakalova for her turn as Tutar, with many claiming she stole the show from Baron Cohen. Of course, love from fans will not be enough for the actress to win a Best Actress Oscar. The truth is, Hollywood has a block when it comes to showing comedies and fantasy the same kind of love it bestows on dramas.
Baron Cohen himself was not even nominated in the Oscar Leading Actor category for the original Borat, which upset many fans, although he did wind up with a Golden Globe win. Hopefully, this time around, the Oscars will be more kind to the adventures of Borat and his intrepid daughter Tutar.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bride to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is written by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman and Lee Kern, with a story by Cohen, Hines, Swimer and Nina Pedrad. The film is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video. IndieWire was the first to report this news.