“This is a monumental moment, one I am so appreciative to all of you, to everyone who has had a hand in getting me here,” Malek said. “Thank you Queen, thank you guys for allowing me to be the tiniest part of your phenomenal, extraordinary legacy. I am forever in your debt.”
Malek’s win makes him the first actor of Egyptian heritage to win the prestigious award.
“We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant who lived his life just unapologetically himself. And the fact that I am celebrating him and this story with you tonight is proof that we are longing for stories like this,” he added. “I’m the son of immigrants from Egypt, I’m a first-generation American, and part of my story is being written right now.”
Malek, 37, received high praise for his portrayal of Mercury in the 2018 box-office hit “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The film focused on Mercury’s rise to fame alongside band members Roger Taylor (played by Ben Hardy), Brian May (played by Gwilym Lee) and John Deacon (played by Joseph Mazzello).
“Bohemian Rhapsody” received mixed reviews for its portrayal of Mercury’s Parsi roots, bisexuality and his struggle with HIV and AIDS, which he eventually succumbed to in 1991.
The film has been surrounded by controversy since co-director Bryan Singer was accused of sexually abusing and raping teenage boys and creating toxic work environments on his movie sets. Singer was fired and replaced by Dexter Fletcher halfway through production, but Singer received the sole directorial credit on the film.
In a January interview, Malek said he was not initially aware of the allegations against Singer. Earlier this month, however, the actor said that Singer’s accusers deserve “to have their voice heard.”
“I’ve sat here and talked about how everyone deserves a voice and anyone who wants to talk about what happened with Bryan deserves to have their voice heard,” Malek said at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. “In my situation with Bryan, it was not pleasant, not at all. And that’s about what I can say about it at this point.”