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Rami Malek Wins Best Actor for Playing Freddie Mercury

Rami Malek Wins Best Actor for Playing Freddie Mercury

Malek spoke about issues of identity in accepting the Oscar for playing the bisexual Queen front man.

Rami Malek, as generally expected, won the Best Actor Oscar tonight for his portrayal of bisexual Queen front man Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.

"We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lives his life just unapologetically, himself,” Malek said in his acceptance speech. Mercury is actually regarded today as bisexual, having had a long-term relationship with a woman, Mary Austin, played in the film by Lucy Boynton, who Malek thanked in his speech. He also likened Mercury's struggle to assert his identity to his own as the son of immigrants from Egypt, trying to find his place in the world.

This was the first Oscar nomination for Malek, known primarily for his work on television, especially on the series Mr. Robot. "I may not have been the obvious choice, but I guess it worked out," he told the Oscars audience.

Bohemian Rhapsody was a major box-office hit, becoming the highest-grossing musical biopic of all time. While the film received some positive reviews, it also received criticism, as some thought it downplayed or pathologized Mercury’s sexuality.

The movie’s studio, Fox, was also criticized for employing director Bryan Singer, an alleged sexual predator. Singer was fired from the film before shooting was finished, with Fox saying it was due to his repeated absences. Malek has said working with Singer was “not pleasant.”

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