Rami Malek won Oscar for Best Actor at the 91st Annual Academy Awards 2019 for his performance as Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
Malek was the frontrunner in the category after winning Best Actor prizes at the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and British Academy Film Awards.
The actor beat out many more famous nominees. These include Christian Bale in Vice, Bradley Cooper as musician Jack Maine in A Star Is Born, Willem Dafoe in At Eternity’s Gate, and Viggo Mortensen in Green Book.
Bohemian Rhapsody is a biopic of British rock act Queen. And the focus is on its late lead singer, Mercury, who died in 1991 from Aids-related illness.
Before Bohemian Rhapsody, Malek was famous for his role in the award-winning TV series Mr. Robot, in which he played hacker Elliot Alderson.
Malek praises Mercury
When he took the stage to accept the award, Malek said:
“I think about what it would’ve been like to tell little bubba Rami that one day this might happen to him, and I think his curly-haired little mind would be blown.”
“That kid was struggling with his identity, trying to figure himself out. I think to anyone struggling with theirs and trying to find their voice, listen, we made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life just unapologetically himself.”
He continued praising the late rocker:
“The fact that I’m celebrating him and this story with you…is proof that we’re longing for stories like this.”
The actor also thanked Queen for letting him ‘be the tiniest part of your phenomenal, extraordinary legacy.’
He then added:
“I am the son of immigrants from Egypt, a first-generation American. And part of my story is being written right now. And I could not be more grateful to each and every one of you and everyone who believed in me for this moment. It’s something I will treasure for the rest of my life.”
The controversy around the film
Bohemian Rhapsody brought Malek’s victory for Best Actor despite being directed by Bryan Singer. The director was at the center of sexual misconduct allegations.
Singer was fired from the film a few weeks before its production ended because of unruly behavior. Allegedly, it included disappearing from the set and engaging in fights with Malek. Singer’s replacement is Dexter Fletcher.
When asked by the Los Angeles Times about Singer’s alleged history of abuse, Malek said:
“As far as I knew, I was considered before Bryan was even attached. So I had my head down preparing for this for about a year ahead of time. And I never really looked up.”