It's quite the accomplishment for an actor to emulate an icon as unique as Queen's frontman, Freddie Mercury was. In Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek rose the occasion, completely transforming into the role. In fact, he did it so well that Mercury's actual bandmates started to believe his performance. Here's what Queen guitarist Brian May says of Malek's Freddie:
As if convincing fans wasn't enough pressure, Rami Malek became Freddie Mercury right in front of the remaining members of Queen, who were heavily involved in Bohemian Rhapsody. Per Brian May's interview with NME, Malek embodied Mercury so well that the band has embraced him, and is now applauding him for the role. May has previously said that Malek not only captured his power as a musician, but his sensitive side too.
Bohemian Rhapsody was a smash hit among audiences, recently passing $472 million at the box office worldwide. The release of the film also sparked a huge spike in sales of Queen's music, giving the rock band a new record as two of their albums rose to the top of the charts.
The movie wasn't originally a surefire success, as director Bryan Singer left the project in the middle of production and it was met with mixed reviews by critics. The biopic was also hit with claims that it was "straightwashing" Freddie Mercury's sexuality, as it only briefly shows his relationships with men and focuses heavily on his time with girlfriend Mary Austin. Rami Malek responded to the controversy by agreeing that he wished the film had delved deeper into Mercury's personal life.
While critics may have been rough on Bohemian Rhapsody, many agreed that Rami Malek's performance as Freddie Mercury dazzled above all else. What are his chances to take home Best Actor at the Oscars for this year? Per statistics compiled from Gold Derby, Malek has a good chance to be on the nomination list as he currently ranks as No. 4 on the prediction list.
Among the other contenders are Bradley Cooper's Star is Born performance, Christian Bale's upcoming transformation as former Vice President Dick Cheney in Vice, Viggo Mortensen in Green Book, Ethan Hawke in First Reformed, Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong in First Man and Willem Defoe as Vincent van Gogh in At Eternity's Gate. The Academy loves to award biopic performances and this year there's certainly no shortage of them to be recognized.
Awards aside, Queen guitarist Brian May's comments about Rami Malek's performance as Freddie Mercury is telling of the actor's passion and commitment to embodying the role of an iconic rock star and LGBT icon. Bohemian Rhapsody is still in theaters everywhere.
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Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.