Rami Malek has been nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars for his role in Bohemian Rhapsody.
The actor is up against Christian Bale for Vice, Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born, Willem Dafoe for At Eternity’s Gate and Viggo Mortensen for Green Book.
There’s no doubt Malek had some big boots to fill when he took on the role of Freddie Mercury for the Queen biopic, but as his nomination implies, he nailed it.
The Mr Robot star wasn’t the production’s first choice to play Mercury, with Borat’s Sacha Baron Cohen initially working on the story of Queen’s frontman. However Cohen dropped out due to a disagreement in 2016, leaving the role open for Malek to make his own.
The 37-year-old committed himself to bringing Mercury’s legacy to the big screen and embarked on research and training to learn everything about the way the singer conducted himself.
Malek’s dedication to the role was recognised when he took home the Golden Globe for Best Actor earlier this month, beating fellow nominees Bradley Cooper, Willem Dafoe, Lucas Hedges, and John David Washington for the award.
In the film viewers are treated to a recreation of the British band’s epic Live Aid performance, which many people considered one of the greatest rock performances in history.
In his efforts to do justice to the performance, Malek told news.com.au he watched Queen’s Live Aid set around 1,500 times on YouTube – that’s 500 hours of scrutinising – in order to perfectly capture the way Mercury owned the stage.
Mimicking every hand gesture, head movement, and pursing of the lips, Malek allowed viewers to experience Live Aid as if they were watching the original performance, creating both a nostalgic and breathtaking spectacle.
Take a look at this comparison between original Live Aid footage and Bohemian Rhapsody’s recreation:
I DIDNT REALIZE THEY DID IT THIS PRECISELY pic.twitter.com/05f6ZW1TMn
— BEST OF FREDDIE MERCURY (@MOMENTOFMERCURY) November 11, 2018
His performance was considered so spectacular that even Queen guitarist Brian May admitted those involved in the production started to see the actor as Mercury.
Predicting the very news this article is about, May told PA:
He’s incredible… without doubt he’ll be on the nominations list for an Oscar and well deserved as well. He inhabited Freddie to the point where we even started to think of him as Freddie. Really remarkable.
We’ve lived with this project for nine years and it’s incredible to see it doing so well.
It came out to s***ty reviews, as some of our work has before, but the public has embraced it magnificently. Everybody gave 200%, from the actors and technicians to the production team and hair and make up, everyone.
If one of the men Mercury spent so many years working with isn’t enough to convince you of Malek’s excellent portrayal of the flamboyant frontman, then maybe the reaction Mercury’s sister had when she saw the actor will help.
Malek appeared on Jimmy Kimmel where he recalled the moment Kashmira Cooke saw him decked out as Mercury:
I met his sister. She got to see me as a young Freddie with long hair and the teeth, make-up, the whole 1970s, early glam-rock look. As you can imagine it was an incredibly bizarre, alien moment for her.
Later on, it was a very emotional moment. On a serious note, she wrote me the most moving email. It was very powerful.
To get that vote of appreciation from the people who were closest to him was everything for me.
Malek certainly deserves his nomination, now we’ll have to wait and see if he takes the win!
The televised ceremony for this year’s Oscars take place on February 24 (US).
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.