The Borat Subsequent Moviefilm actress is nominated for Best Supporting actress 

By Alexia Fernández
April 15, 2021 11:24 AM
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Maria Bakalova's Oscar moment wouldn't be complete without her mother. 

The Borat Subsequent Moviefilm breakout star is excitedly looking forward to attending this month's Oscar ceremony, and with only one guest invited per nominee, the Best Supporting Actress nominee is working hard to get her mother, Rumyana Bakalova, a visa in time for the ceremony on April 25.

"It is quite hard because my mom is [living] in Bulgaria," Bakalova, 24, tells PEOPLE. "I'm still working on the visa situation."

"Am I going to be able to bring her with me? Because as any little kid, I do need my mom with me because she's my idol," she says. "I want to be like her strong and independent woman."

Bakalova, who is hard at work in London on an upcoming Judd Apatow comedy starring Pedro Pascal, says she'll invite her close friend and agent Cade Hudson with her if her mother is not able to attend. 

Maria Bakalova and her mother Rumyana Bakalova
Maria Bakalova and her mother Rumyana Bakalova
| Credit: Maria Bakalova/Instagram

"He is the family that I chose to have in the United States," she says. "So I don't know, maybe it's going to be between the two."

The actress has received critical acclaim and praise for her portrayal of Tutar, the daughter of Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat in the in the Amazon Studios comedy.

Last week, Baron Cohen called Bakalova "a phenomenon."

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"She's a one-off. She's incredibly courageous, she's in real situations, sometimes dangerous situations," he said during the 36th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. 

"She is very, very funny, hilarious. She's an incredible improviser and fundamentally she's a deeply emotional actor," he said. "We said, if you do this scene, you're getting nominated for an Oscar."

Bakalova did in fact pick up a nomination for Best Supporting Actress, as did Baron Cohen, who received two for his performance in The Trial of the Chicago 7 and co-writing the Borat sequel.

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The actor also talked about the process of finding the right actor to pull off the role.

"It was a challenge, we interviewed hundreds of actors around the world, many brilliant comedians in America who could speak a second language," said Baron Cohen "One of the parts of the audition process was they'd sit in a room with a real person for an hour and try and deliver some of the jokes we had written. And within a few minutes and they'd delivered the first joke, the real person would go, 'You're an actor' or 'This isn't real.'"

"We needed someone who was a brilliant actor, who could blend in these jokes seamlessly into a complete persona," Baron Cohen continued. "We went around the world and looked throughout Eastern Europe," where they found the Bulgarian actress.

The 93rd Academy Awards will air live on Sunday, April 25 starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.