Golden Globes: Sacha Baron Cohen Mentions Trump in Best Comedy Actor Speech

Sacha Baron Cohen
Christopher Polk/NBC

The 'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm' star thanked his team for putting their safety on the line amid the pandemic in order to get the politically charged film out ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Sacha Baron Cohen won the best actor in a music or comedy award at Sunday's Golden Globes. And upon accepting the trophy, he called out the former president.

"Donald Trump is contesting the result," joked the actor, who won for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. "He's claiming that a lot of dead people voted, which is a very rude thing to say about the HFPA."

This marked Cohen's second acting nomination of the night and followed his acceptance speech for best motion picture in a musical or comedy, where the Borat sequel beat out fellow nominees Hamilton, Music, Palm Springs and The Prom. He thanked the Borat 2 team, including the field team "who literally risked their lives "and his bodyguard "who stopped me from getting shot, twice."

In his best picture acceptance speech, Cohen, who was joined by wife Isla Fisher for his virtual address, had thanked the "all-white" Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the voting body behind the awards show, and Rudy Giuliani, who makes a memorable appearance in his film: "Who could get more laughs out of one unzipping? Just incredible. Our movie was just the beginning for him. Rudy went on to star in a string of comedy films, hits like Four Seasons Landscaping, Hair Dye Another Day and the courtroom drama A Very Public Fart."

He also thanked his team for putting their safety on the line amid the pandemic — and risking arrest — in order to get the politically charged film out ahead of the 2020 presidential election, to highlight the "danger of lies, hate, conspiracies" and the "power of truth, empathy and democracy."

In the press room following his win, Cohen expanded upon the timeliness of his work. "I made Borat because of the election. I made this movie because of Donald Trump, because I felt democracy was really in danger," he said. "I felt that the underbelly that I’d exposed in Borat 1 had become overt ... We felt we had to make this movie because of the dangers of Trump and Trumpism and the upcoming election."

Cohen beat out fellow nominees James Corden (The Prom), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton), Dev Patel (The Personal History of David Copperfield) and Andy Samberg (Palm Springs) in the best actor category.

Going into the night, Cohen, who won for the original Borat 14 years ago, was the frontrunner. "Dev Patel is terrific, but the film left me cold; Andy Samberg's role doesn't extend his range; Lin-Manuel Miranda isn't Hamilton's strongest player; and James Corden is abrasive in The Prom," wrote The Hollywood Reporter's chief film critic David Rooney.

Sunday's Globes aired amid renewed backlash about the lack of diversity among the HFPA. The group of Hollywood-based journalists for foreign media outlets does not count one Black voter among them, as was reported one week ahead of this year's show in the Los Angeles Times. The report also included unethical practices from the awards-giving group.

Leading up to the show, dozens of stars joined the Time’s Up organization in their #TimesUpGlobes protest campaign over the HFPA's lack of diversity, highlighting the zero Black members among the 87 total. On Thursday, the HFPA had vowed to do better, acknowledging in a statement: "We understand that we need to bring in Black members, as well as members from other underrepresented backgrounds, and we will immediately work to implement an action plan to achieve these goals as soon as possible."

The 78th annual show aired Sunday and was hosted by returning duo Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who led the mostly virtual ceremony from opposite coasts. They addressed the controversy to open the show, delivering their monologue to a small, socially distanced audience that was populated by healthcare and frontline workers.

The Golden Globe Awards ceremony is produced by Dick Clark Productions, a division of MRC, which is a co-owner of The Hollywood Reporter through a joint venture with Penske Media titled P-MRC.