Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek has officially been named best actor at the Oscars for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in the film.
But while the film has come under fire for failing to acknowledge the extent of Mercury’s gay relationships, Malek, who at one point downplayed that Mercury was a “gay icon,” finally called him a “gay man” in his acceptance speech at the Oscars.
“I think to anyone struggling… we made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life just unapologetically himself. The fact that I’m celebrating him and this story with you tonight is proof that we’re longing for stories like this,” said Malek on stage.
Bohemian Rhapsody criticised for straight-washing
Bohemian Rhapsody previously earned scorn for downplaying Mercury’s gay identity.
The musician had relationships with both men and women and ended his life in a relationship with Jim Hutton.
Mercury died in 1991 from AIDS-related illnesses.
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The backlash was reignited as Malek acknowledged Mercury was a gay man.
“Wellll….I’m happy Rami Malek identified Bohemian Rhapsody as a movie about a gay man. I wish someone had told the screenwriters,” tweeted Mark Harris.
Wellll….I’m happy Rami Malek identified Bohemian Rhapsody as a movie about a gay man. I wish someone had told the screenwriters.
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) 25 February 2019
“ok like rami malek talking about how they “made a movie about a gay man who lived unapologetically” when the movie literally doesn’t paint him that way, it actually portrays his gayness as smth bad and his straight friends are treated like the heroes while disrespecting freddie,” wrote another person on Twitter.
In November last year, Malek said he wanted the film to incorporate more of Mercury’s gay relationships in the film.
“I just kept pushing for more of that aspect of his life… I don’t know if we ever felt fulfilled by it,” said the actor.
See more Oscars 2019 coverage here.