20th Century Fox's QUEEN biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" was named best drama at the 76th Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, and Rami Malek won best actor for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury. Malek beat out Bradley Cooper in "A Star is Born", John David Washington in "BlacKkKlansman", Lucas Hedges in "Boy Erased" and Willem Dafoe in "At Eternity's Gate".
"Oh my god, I am beyond moved," Malek said at the podium. "My heart is pounding out of my chest. This is a profound honor to be counted among such extraordinary actors. I am privileged. Thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press and to everyone who worked so tirelessly on this film. I have to thank [producers] Graham King and Denis O'Sullivan. You've worked over a decade to make sure this story was told. Thank you to 20th Century Fox. You believed in us."
He continued: "I have to thank my mom and my family. Of course, to QUEEN. To you, Brian May, to you, Roger Taylor, for ensuring that authenticity remains in the world. And to Freddie Mercury, this is for you."
Backstage, Malek said about the movie: "There's only one thing we wanted to do and that is to celebrate Freddie Mercury with this film. There is only one Freddie Mercury, and nothing was going to compromise us giving him the love, celebration and adulation he deserves."
Asked whether Mercury changed him in a particular way, Malek responded: "Very powerfully. … there are aspects of Freddie Mercury that I relate to. You can look at this man and see him step onstage with these incredible individuals and together form this superhero rock god icon status. He is a deity, he is a god. He could hold an audience in the palm of his hand.
"I tried to find the humanity in him," Malek continued. "I related to the nature of him being an immigrant, struggling to discover his identity … looking at that, he lifted me up to be everything I could be on this film."
QUEEN guitarist Brian May, who was in the audience, addressed the fact that "Bohemian Rhapsody" was 10 years in the making. "We had this thing that if we didn't do it with the right people, it would get done wrong by somebody else and it wouldn't do Freddie justice," he said. "We found the right people at the right time, or we wouldn't be standing here."
May also spoke about the fairly mixed critical reviews the movie received upon release. "To be honest the mistake some of the critics made was to review the trailer and then jump to conclusions," he said. "And when people do stake their claim on something it's hard for them to withdraw. A couple of them have rather graciously said, 'Actually, we were wrong.'"
"Bohemian Rhapsody" has already become the highest-grossing musical biopic of all time, bringing in a huge $700 million at the worldwide box office.
Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Whishaw were set to play Freddie Mercury at different stages in the movie's development, prior to Malek's casting. Cohen's vision for the film was reportedly very "adult" in tone and clashed with what the surviving members of QUEEN had in mind, leading to the actor's departure.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" began production with "X-Men" director Bryan Singer behind the camera, but the filmmaker was fired from the movie after he disappeared from set and caused production delays. Dexter Fletcher, best known for making "Eddie The Eagle", stepped in to replace Singer in the director's chair.