Rami Malek has won Best Actor at the 91st Annual Academy Awards for his portrayal of Queen’s late frontman Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. In his acceptance speech, he talked about how, like himself, Freddie was an immigrant, an outsider.
“I think about what it would have been like to tell little Bubba Rami that one day this might happen to him,” Malek began. “I think his curly hair little mind would be blown. That kid was struggling with his identity and trying to figure himself out. To anyone struggling with theirs and trying to discover their voice. listen: We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant who lived his life unapologetically. The fact that I’m celebrating him and his story tonight is proof that we’re longing for stories like this.”
“I am the son of immigrants from Egypt,” the 38-year-old actor continued. “I am a first-generation American. 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, is something I will treasure for the rest of my life.”
But it was when he addressed his girlfriend, 25-year-old Lucy Boynton (who played Freddie’s life-long love Mary Austin in the film), that the actress grew tearful. “Lucy Boynton: You’re the heart of this film,” Malek said. “You are beyond immensely talented, you have captured my heart. Thank you so much.”
The pair met on set of the film in 2017 and have been staples on the red carpet this awards season. Malek beat out Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Christian Bale (Vice), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate) and Viggo Mortensen (Green Book).
Olivia Coleman won Best Actress over Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Glenn Close (The Wife), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born) and Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?).
Green Book took home Best Picture.