Hey Rami Malek, get your SAG Awards acceptance speech ready

Hey Rami,

Apologies that I have to use Gold Derby in order to get this message to you. I don’t have your email address and we’re not friends on Facebook. (At least, not yet.)

I know that you’re peeking at your odds here, just like most of this year’s film contenders are. So I know that you’ll read this. (Lady Gaga – you can move on now. This doesn’t concern you.)

First of all, congratulations on your victory at the Golden Globes. You delivered the most eloquent and gracious speech.

Second, sorry about the loss at the Critics’ Choice Awards. Even though I predicted you to win, I’m not surprised that you didn’t. Those cranky critics just can’t handle the fact that “Bohemian Rhapsody” has turned into an international phenomenon, in spite of their assessment that the film is just so-so. Rewarding you would have meant admitting that they were wrong, and they simply couldn’t bring themselves to do that.

But don’t worry. I have great news for you.

You’re winning the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role.

And that’s not a prediction. It’s a proclamation.

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I declared you the SAG front runner as soon as I saw “Bohemian Rhapsody” at a sold-out showing during its first week of its release. The audience went absolutely wild. I exited the theater with a number of actors, and they could not stop talking about your performance. Many of the them said that they couldn’t wait to see the movie again. (And they have, some of them multiple times.)

In order to get a sense of how other SAG members are reacting to your work, I’ve spent numerous weeks aggressively interviewing as many of them as I can. That isn’t hard in New York City, where I usually find a half-dozen within a 30-foot radius of me at any given moment. I have spoken to several hundred so far, attempting to gauge their opinions about the SAG Best Actor race. And even I have been a bit surprised by the results.

By a shockingly overwhelming margin, they plan to vote for YOU. When I list the nominees in alphabetical order, their faces always light up when I say “Rami Malek in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’” You get the most rapturous response. “Oh Rami, for sure!” they exclaim. When I try to investigate further, they explain that they were simply blown away by your portrayal of Freddie Mercury. They clarify that you didn’t impersonate him, you actually embodied him. They truly felt like they were seeing Mercury rising there right on the screen. And they were mesmerized.

Also, it doesn’t hurt that they’re fiercely loyal to Queen, as well as Mercury’s legacy. Many subjects are also voting for “Bohemian Rhapsody” for Best Cast in a Motion Picture, even though you dominate the story.

While I’ll concede that my polling is 100% random and completely unscientific, you scoring over 90% in a five-way contest has to count for something. The other blokes are barely blips in my survey. It isn’t that SAG members don’t appreciate and admire the other performances – they do. But they didn’t fall in love with them. And yes, they have truly fallen in love with yours.

So please believe me when I guarantee you that you have SAG in the bag. Yes, many of my fellow derbyites still have doubts. But you and I both know that denial is not a river in Egypt.

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And just to prove how certain I am, I’m making a promise. In the event that another actor’s name is called out at the SAG ceremony, I will remove myself from the derby the remainder of this awards season. A self-imposed exile to pundit purgatory. There’s no hell like that. You can take comfort knowing that I will be suffering.

Fortunately, I’m not afraid of the fire. Because I am sure that you’re winning.

So get your SAG speech ready, and look forward to relaxing and enjoying the show until your name is called. Just try to look surprised when that happens. (Take a cue from Glenn Close at the Golden Globes.) It’s always more fun that way.

And as you accept the statuette with an exasperated breath, perhaps you can quickly remark “Tariq, you were so right.” (The audience will assume that “Tariq” is just some Cairo cousin.)

And no worries if you forget my shout-out. There’s always the Oscars.

Your Gold Derby friend,

Tariq Khan

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