Rami Malek is a champion, my friends | Sunday Observer

Rami Malek is a champion, my friends

Queen may have opened the Oscars, but Rami Malek is the real champion of the night.

Malek last Sunday picked up the best actor award for playing Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

In his acceptance speech, Malek reflected on his journey and the importance of immigrant stories.

“I think about what it would have been like to tell little bubba Rami that one day this might happen to him and I think his curly-haired little mind would be blown,” he said. “He was struggling with his identity, trying to figure himself out.

And I think 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 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.”

In his speech, Malek pointed out that he is a first-generation American. His parents are from Egypt.

“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,” he said. “It’s something I will treasure for the rest of my life.”

Malek’s win was a big win for the film, which had a well-chronicled battle to the big screen, but not its only statue of the night. “Bohemian Rhapsody” also picked up the awards for film editing, sound editing and sound mixing.

Secret family heartache of Rami Malek revealed

But for all his success, actor Rami Malek is nursing a secret heartache.

We can reveal the star’s father died long before he was able to see his son become a Hollywood superstar.

Yet, in a fitting legacy, Rami, 37, has carried on his father’s role of ensuring that he looks after the family. That is set to include taking his twin brother Sami to the Oscars next week.

It is not the first act of brotherly love. Rami is believed to have splashed out on a £2 million mansion for Sami, which they share in the Hollywood Hills.

A friend close to the actor said: “The family are very close and as twins, Sami and Rami are, of course, extremely close.

“When their father Said died, they became a very tight-knit group.

“His death really hit them hard and Rami really looked up to his dad, who always encouraged him to stay close to his family.

“His mother, siblings and cousins are all incredibly proud of Rami and his achievements.”

Said, who died in 2006, was a tour guide in Cairo, Egypt, before immigrating to the US and settling in Los Angeles, where he went door to door selling insurance. Rami’s mother Nelly worked as an accountant. The star – who won Best Actor at the Baftas earlier last month – has previously told how his parents did not want him to become an actor. They wanted him to pursue a career in law or medicine instead to “achieve a good financial and social status”.

“But because I am crazy and stubborn, as they would say, I chose to study fine arts and theatre,” he said. He went on to follow his dreams and started working professionally about 15 years ago, doing bit-parts and voice overs mainly, supplemented by being a waiter.

Before landing his coveted film role as Freddie Mercury, opposite Lucy Boynton as the Queen frontman’s lifelong pal Mary Austin, Rami was a relative unknown in the UK.

He had a sizeable profile back home thanks to his lead role in the US TV drama Mr. Robot. But his world changed after auditioning for Bohemian Rhapsody. He recently took his mum on a promotional tour of the film, and two years ago took his cousin to the Emmy Awards. Sami is a regular on the red carpet.

Growing up, dad Said made sure Rami kept in contact with his family in Egypt, regularly waking him in the middle of the night to speak to them.

Rami said: “I have cousins, yeah. I always refer to them as my immediate family and my brother the other day was, like, ‘They’re not your immediate family, you just grew up thinking that’.

“As far as my father was concerned, we were going to know these people.”

As well as being proud of his family, Rami is incredibly proud of his Egyptian heritage – even if it led to him feeling singled out while growing up in America.

He said: “I definitely felt that, culturally, I came from a different background than 95 percent of the kids I was around. We were speaking Arabic at home.

“There was a feeling of being inherently different. I don’t know whether that feeling is something you create for yourself.“It was definitely reflected in people’s actions towards you.”

“But it was there, and it’s something that you fight against until you accept what a beautiful and powerful thing it is to have this history and this tradition running through your genes.”

Rami, who also has an older sister – an ER doctor in Washington DC – previously said he once pretended to be his brother, who is four minutes younger than him. It came when Sami, now a teacher who was pictured protesting recently, had to perform a Greek monologue for the extra credit he needed to graduate from university. Actor Rami explained: “[The professor] starts looking at me kind of accusatorially like, ‘Where the hell did you come up with that? I’ve watched you this whole year’.

“So she pulls me out of the class… and goes, ‘How did you learn how to do that?’ I go, ‘Um, it’s just a hobby’.

“Then she looks at me and says, ‘Well, listen, I have a class in about 30 minutes, can you come back and do it for them?’ I go, ‘Did I get the points that I’m going to need to pass the class and get my degree?’ She goes, ‘Yeah, you got the points’. I go, ‘My car’s parked in the red, I gotta go’.”

Rami’s amateur performance certainly helped pave the way for his professional career.

He nabbed a Best Actor, Drama win at last month’s Golden Globes for his portrayal of Freddie, as well as picking up his Bafta.

He is determined to share his success with the people he loves most.

Another friend added: “Rami is an incredibly kind and generous man.

“He wants his family and friends to come on the journey with him. That’s just the type of guy he is.”