2021 Oscars: The Surprising Career Borat 2's Maria Bakalova Almost Chose

Before becoming the first Bulgarian to be nominated for an Oscar for her turn in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Maria Bakalova revealed she nearly chose a different career path.

By Tierney Bricker Apr 25, 2021 11:27 PMTags
Watch: Maria Bakalova Reveals "Borat 2" Was First Comedy Role

Maria Bakalova is leaving the ultimate dream at the 2021 Oscars

The Borat Subsequent Moviefilm breakout star is the first Bulgarian ever nominated for an Academy Award, with the 24-year-old earning a Best Supporting Actress nod, and she admitted to E!'s Giuliana Rancic that "it feels like a dream."

While Bakalova has been acting for twelve years, Borat 2 was the first comedy and English-speaking film she's ever done, so the fact that she earned an Oscar nomination for her performance was overwhelming for the star. 

"It's one of these things that you're, like, am I dreaming?" she said. "Am I living this dream? It's beyond all of my expectations."

It's also beyond her family's wildest dreams, Bakalova revealing her mother actually wanted her to be a journalist before she decided to pursue a career in acting.

Oscars 2021 Red Carpet Fashion

"My family wanted me to be a journalist," she explained. "I wanted to be a journalist and if I couldn't make get to into university for acting, I was going to be a journalist."

Chris Pizzello/Pool/Shutterstock

But, through her role as Tutar Sagdiyev, Borat's daughter who becomes a news personality, she said her family was "happy" and it was a "double win-win."

While her family couldn't be with her in-person at the 93rd Annual Academy Awards, they were cheering her on from Bulgaria. 

"They are watching, my country is watching," she said, "and everybody is extremely excited and inspired that dreams are possible to happen if you believe in them and if you dare to achieve them. I am feeling grateful for all of this recognition."

Bakalova's gorgeous Louis Vuitton gown also deserved some serious recognition, with her stylist Jessica Paster telling E!'s Zanna Roberts Rassi that the duo was going for a Grace Kelly moment with her white tulle dress.

Head to E! Online's Oscars page for a full recap of the 2024 Academy Awards.