It’s been a gargantuan week for Amazon Studios’ Sacha Baron Cohen sequel “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” From both a critical perspective and the cultural zeitgeist, it’s truly having a moment. This is all unfolding just before the most important election of our time — and of course there are more important issues to focus on, but from an awards perspective, we can’t ignore the possibilities. Most importantly, is the film poised for major Oscar success when nominations are announced on March 15? Previous Oscar nominee Baron Cohen could find himself with up to five nominations across multiple categories on nomination morning.
As the current leading contender for the Golden Globes in the best actor in a comedy or musical category, if he were to win that category, it’s a category that often translates to Oscar attention for best actor. It should be noted by Cohen won the Globe in 2006 for the original “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” but came up short in the Oscars acting race. In addition, in the last decade, three winners of the comedy Globes race were snubbed by the Academy: Paul Giamatti (“Barney’s Version”), James Franco (“The Disaster Artist”) and just last year with Taron Egerton (“Rocketman”). Baron Cohen also delivers a standout performance in Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” where he will campaign for best supporting actor. He’s currently listed in the top five Oscar contenders, and one performance can have a positive impact on the other.
At this moment, the film looks like a longshot for the best picture race but weirder things have happened. If nominated, Cohen is one of the producers, which would just add to his possible nomination tally. And if Globes bite fin the top comedy race, you could see its stock climbing. Every film that won the Golden Globe for best picture comedy category in the last decade went on to be nominated for best picture at the Oscars. Interesting note, before 2010, it had been since 2004’s “Sideways” that a winner went on to Oscar attention, proving the expansion to ten nominees in best picture helps the genre in recognition (at least when it’s an ACTUAL comedy).
The original 2006 film received an Oscar nomination for best adapted screenplay, which Baron Cohen shared with Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Dan Mazer and Todd Phillips. This time around, thanks to the streaming platform of Prime Video, the film has been seen by millions, at least according to Amazon. With a following this strong, it could repeat with love from the writers’ branch.
And then there’s what I believe is the secret sauce to the Baron Cohen love, which is the song “Wuhan Flu,” which he sings. Co-written by Baron Cohen, his younger brother Erran Baron Cohen, Hines, Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Swimer, Jena Friedman, Jim Russell and Jerry Holleman, the number is one of the pivotal moments and something the AMPAS’ music branch can get behind.
A multiple Oscar nomination day would be quite the feat, especially for a comedian like Cohen, and there’s still a long road ahead for films to open and the landscape to change. If Cohen did get four nominations for “Borat 2,” along with the supporting nom for “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” he would be one citation short of the record set by Walt Disney in 1954, when he received six nominations in the same year. More amusing, he would surpass Warren Beatty’s tied second-highest-record of most nominations in the same year with four. As Baron Cohen said in his Globes speech, “Warren? Where is he? It’s ‘wha-wha-we-wha.”