Rami Malek has won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role thanks to his acclaimed turn as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in the music biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Malek was considered 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 won over Christian Bale (“Vice”), Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”), Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”), and Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”).
Malek’s nomination for “Bohemian Rhapsody” was in one of five categories for which the film received noms at the Oscars this year. The film was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing. While “Bohemian Rhapsody” was widely panned by movie critics (IndieWire’s David Ehrlich called the film “royally embarrassing” in his D+ review), Malek was singled out as the film’s high point and campaigned at nearly every event this awards season.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” managed a Malek win for Best Actor despite being directed by Bryan Singer, who was at the center of new allegations of sexual misconduct last month. Singer was fired from the movie a few weeks before production wrapped because of unruly behavior, which allegedly included disappearing from set and engaging in fights with Malek. Singer was replaced by Dexter Fletcher, although the former still was credited based on DGA rules.
When asked by the Los Angeles Times last month 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. I didn’t know much about Bryan. I think that the allegations and things were, believe it or not, honestly something I was not aware of, and that is what it is. Who knows what happens with that…but I think somehow we found a way to persevere through everything that was thrown our way.”
Malek is now halfway to earning the industry’s prestigious EGOT. The actor’s Oscar win follows his Emmy for his leading role on USA Network’s hacker drama “Mr. Robot.” Malek will reprise his starring role for the show’s final season later this year.