The Borat Subsequent Moviefilm star was far from the only one to call out the HFPA's lack of diversity on Sunday. Hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey made note of it during their opening monologue.
The HFPA's lack of Black members earned criticism from stars over the weekend, following an investigation by the Los Angeles Times. In a statement on Friday, the HFPA said, "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."
After calling out the HFPA in his speech, Cohen directed his attention to his Borat Subsequent Moviefilm "co-star." "[He's] a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius. I'm talking about Rudy Giuliani. Who can get more laughs out of one unzipping? Incredible! Rudy went on to star in a string of comedy films -- hits like Four Seasons Landscaping, Hair Dye of the Day and the courtroom drama, The Very Public Fart."
Cohen's speech earned plenty of laughs from his wife, Isla Fisher, who giggled by his side and expressed excitement when he delivered a few more sincere shout-outs.
"But seriously, the revelation, the sensation was Maria Bakalova. She's incredible," he continued. "... I want to thank my crew, who were amazingly brave, who had the risk of getting arrested the risk of getting COVID and they did it because we all believed so deeply in releasing this movie before the election to show the danger of lies, hate and conspiracies and the power of truth, empathy and democracy."
"Most of all, thank you to my incredibly patient wife, Isla, who has put up with all my madness," Cohen concluded.
The actor got in one more political joke when accepting Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy minutes later.
"Hold on, Donald Trump is contesting the result. He claimed a lot of dead people voted, which is a very rude thing to say about the HFPA," he cracked. "Thanks again to everyone else the brilliant make-up team, to Aaron knight of the incredible editors. The field team that literally risked their lives and most of all to my bodyguard, who stopped me getting shot. You know who you are and you know I'm not allowed to say your name. Thank you to the other nominees. I love you."