• Golden Globe Awards

Nominee Profile 2021: Sacha Baron Cohen, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

English actor, comedian and provocateur extraordinaire, Sacha Baron Cohen is a two-time nominee for this year’s Golden Globe: as Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, (directed by Jason Woliner, the film is also a nominee as Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy) and as Best Supporting Actor for Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7
Mostly known for his unorthodox, bizarre, fictional characters, which he honed and perfected with his seminal TV series Da Ali G Show (in which he created the Borat and Brüno characters, among many others), Baron Cohen, who will turn 50 in October, also shows real acting skills as radical leader Abbie Hoffman in Chicago 7. In Borat Subsequent Moviefilm he reprises the role of the wacko Kazakh reporter who comes again to America to create some havoc. The first Borat  (2006) was an international phenomenon, grossing $260 million worldwide and earning Baron Cohen a Golden Globe. 
“I assumed that a sequel to Borat would be impossible,” Baron Cohen told the HFPA. “We basically thought the only way to do it was as a scripted movie, with actors playing other characters in Borat’s life. And I didn’t want to do it. So, I ruled it out. Then Donald Trump came along and I was not a fan of his, and in 2018 I made the Showtime show Who is America? and I felt there was a need to go undercover again, because that was my way of expressing my dissent.”
Sacha Noam Baron Cohen was born on October 13, 1971, in London, England. A middle child, he grew up in a London suburb. Cohen developed a passion for break-dancing as a teen and belonged to a Jewish youth group through which he first started acting. After spending a year at a kibbutz in Israel, Cohen enrolled at Christ’s College, part of Cambridge University. He was a history student and also appeared in productions by the Cambridge Footlights, the university’s famed comedy troupe. Like many comedians before him, Cohen worked at his craft doing stand-up comedy. His first television gig was as a host of a youth program. Landing a part on the late-night comedy program The 11 O’clock Show in the late 1990s, Cohen stood out with his character Ali G, a white wannabe rapper. He was later featured in his own series, Da Ali G Show, which had the blinged-out character conducting interviews with politicians, writers and other known people, seeing how they responded to all sorts of bizarre questions. From that show he spun off the mockumentary film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, exposing prejudices and hypocrisies in American culture. It was followed by Brüno and The Dictator. Baron Cohen has also acted in movies such as Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), Sweeney Todd (2007), HugoLes MisérablesHe’s married to Australian actress Isla Fisher, and they have three children, Olive, Elula and Montgomery.
Cohen reflected on the Borat sequel: “I thought that if we could make a movie, perhaps we could convince a handful of people to vote against Trump or maybe not to vote for Trump and then I could look myself in the mirror on November 4th, 2020, and say I did what I could do to show my opposition to this man. Because the main aim of the movie was not really only to reveal prejudices, it was to show what Trumpism could become.”
He changed costumes and hairdos with surprising ease from Borat Sagdiyev to Abbie Hoffman for Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7: “I had learned about Abbie during my undergraduate thesis in Cambridge,” he says, “I did an investigation about Jewish radicals who were involved in the Black civil rights movement in the ‘60s.” When he heard about the project, in 2007, he called Steven Spielberg, who was the original director, and asked him to let him audition. Spielberg decided to pass on the project, which was finally made by Sorkin: “It was a 13-year-long casting process!” quips Baron Cohen. “Yes, Abbie was an obsession of mine. I was obsessed with him since the age of 20. And finally, I am him.”