On Monday morning, Maria Bakalova made the move from brand new actress to Oscar nominee, as she made the Academy’s Best Supporting Actress list for her first screen role of Tutar in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Watching the Oscars as a child in Bulgaria, Bakalova said she had dreamed about being there. “It’s just beyond my wildest dreams, because things like that don’t usually happen,” she said. “Having this recognition, it makes me more inspired to bring attention to the people of my region of the world.”
Now that she is nominated by that very same awards body, Bakalova wants her story to inspire others. She hopes that “many young girls from my country… from everywhere all over the world can be inspired that their dreams are possible and they should dare to achieve them.”
Bakalova is currently shooting Judd Apatow’s new Netflix film The Bubble. She was filming a scene with Pedro Pascal on Monday when Apatow walked to her to tell her that she was a first-time Oscar nominee. Bakalova said she was thrilled to join The Bubble. “It wasn’t even a decision,” she said, “it was like ‘Yes, please, I would love to.’” The movie follows a group of actors trying to finish a film in the middle of a pandemic. Although some might be hesitant to see a comedy about a pandemic during the Covid-19 crisis, Bakalova describes the movie as “more like a holiday movie than a pandemic movie.” And, in these hard times, she believes comedies like The Bubble are important. “I believe that for our mental health, we need more things that are going to make us love,” she said.
“I think it’s time we start celebrating who we are and be proud of it,” she added, “because it’s going to be beautiful if you celebrate the stories of strong women like, in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, the story of Tutar, the story of Jeanise Jones, or the story of Judith the holocaust survivor. We need it these days, more than ever.”