Maria Bakalova Awarded Honorary Askeer as Ambassador of Bulgarian Acting School
Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova will receive an honorary Askeer Award as a rising international star and ambassador of Bulgarian acting. The decision was made public on Thursday by the Bulgarian theatre awards foundation through its media partner, the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA).
At the tender age of 24, Bakalova has already gained international recognition for her appearance in the 2020 "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm." The film has earned her the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actress and nominations for an Academy Award, the BAFTA Film Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. She is the first Bulgarian to be nominated for these honours.
In a message to Bakalova, the Askeer Foundation Board said they offer her the award for "achieving something that no other
Bulgarian actor has achieved".
"You are probably already well aware that there will be much negative noise down the road, but you listen to the silence. It holds the answers, it is inhabited by millions of human beings who quietly like you and appreciate what you do, millions of people whose dream you live. Don't disappoint them! Be brave, inspired and inspiring! Bon voyage, dear Maria!" the Askeer Board's message reads.
Commenting on Bakalova's award, BTA Director General Kiril Valchev described it as "recognition from the home country for the talent of a successful actress from Eastern Europe, who started her career in the Bulgarian acting school where tastes often clash but are always glad to see compatriots excel".
Valchev pointed out that in the nearly 100 years of the Academy Awards, Bakalova is only the fifth East European actress to get a nomination for an actress in a leading or supporting role after a 55-year break. Those before her were Polish-born Estonian actress Miliza Korjus, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1938 for her part in "The Great Waltz", and Greece's Katina Paxinou, who won a supporting actress Oscar for her appearance in "For Whom the Bell Tolls" in 1943, and also the two Best Actress nominees, Melina Mercouri of Greece for "Never on Sunday" in 1961 and Ida Kaminska of Poland for "The Shop on Main Street" in 1966.
"Maria Bakalova is the first Bulgarian actress with an Academy Award nomination. She brings the spirit of the region where she
was born, where theatre was born with the dithyrambs in plays honouring Dionysus in ancient Greece, and of Bulgaria, where
acting schools evolved, set up by followers of the greats in the art of theatre, from Stanislavsky to Brecht. That is why,
having received an Askeer, Bakalova deserves an Academy Award," Valchev also said.
The 30th jubilee Askeer Awards Ceremony will take place at the Bulgarian Army Theatre on May 23, 2021. BTA
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