Earlier this month 20th Century Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” starring Rami Malek as Queen front man Freddie Mercury, began screening for film critics. As more and more of our Oscar Experts break free to see the biopic, you’ll notice that Malek continues to rise in our Best Actor racetrack odds. Sixteen of our 23 Experts now believe that Malek will earn his first career Oscar nomination, with 3 even predicting he’ll be the champion: Edward Douglas (Weekend Warrior), Keith Simanton (IMDb) and Tariq Khan (Fox TV).
After seeing the film two weeks ago, our own Tom O’Neil raved that “Malek delivers, wows, bedazzles and seizes your heart in a performance guaranteed to be a leading Oscar contender for Best Actor. Maybe even the winner.” With momentum on Malek’s side, we have to wonder whether the Queen song “Don’t Stop Me Now” is constantly playing in his mind.
Malek currently enjoys 6/1 racetrack odds to win Best Actor, putting him in fourth place on our Experts’ chart behind only Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”), Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”) and Christian Bale (“Vice”). Other top contenders for the 2019 Oscars include Ryan Gosling (“First Man”), Robert Redford (“The Old Man and the Gun”), Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”) and Ethan Hawke (“First Reformed”).
In Malek’s favor is the fact that he plays a real-life person. The Oscars have a soft spot for actors who take on true-to-life characters, with 7 of the past 10 Best Actor winners falling into this category including last year’s champ Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.” Much like Oldman, Malek alters his voice for the role and even undergoes an eye-popping physical transformation.
While Freddie Murcury marks Malek’s breakout role as a film star, he’s well-known to TV audiences as Elliot Alderson on USA’s “Mr. Robot.” Malek won Best Actor at the 2016 Emmys and Critics’ Choice Awards, in addition to receiving back-to-back nominations at the Golden Globes (2016-17).”Bohemian Rhapsody” opens November 2 in the U.S.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own 2019 Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.