During his acceptance speech for Leading Actor for Bohemian Rhapsody at the 2019 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs), Rami Malek thanked the film's replacement director - not Bryan Singer. Singer was fired from the film on account of "unreliability and unprofessionalism," after which time he faced sexual assault allegations.
Towards the end of production on Bohemian Rhapsody, Singer was fired from the film. It was reported that he failed to report to set on several occasions - citing post-traumatic stress disorder from stress as his reason - and Malek had even complained about his experience with Singer on set. As a result, Fox ended up firing Singer from the film and replaced him with director Dexter Fletcher (Eddie and the Eagle). Now that Bohemian Rhapsody is a major awards contender - having earned Malek several wins for his performance - there has been a significant amount of focus on Singer's affiliation with the film.
After winning the BAFTA for Leading Actor, Malek gratefully accepted his award. He went on to thank BAFTA, Bohemian Rhapsody's producers, cast, and crew, the members of Queen (who were present at the ceremony), and Queen's original frontman Freddie Mercury. However, Malek neglected to thank Singer, instead thanking Fletcher, the film's replacement director. Check out his speech below:
As for the BAFTAs, Malek was nominated alongside Bradly Cooper (A Star is Born), Christian Bale (Vice), Steve Coogan (Stan & Ollie), and Viggo Mortensen (Green Book). He will go up against Cooper, Bale, and Mortensen again at the Oscars, as well as Willem Dafoe for At Eternity's Gate. And, while there is no denying the dark cloud hanging over the film, Bohemian Rhapsody isn't the only awards contender facing negative press. Green Book has also come under fire after a controversial tweet resurfaced from one of the film's writers, Nick Vallelonga. This happened after the film had already divided audiences for its presentation of the film's real-life lead character, Dr. Don Shirley.
Though Malek didn't make a point to address the scandal surrounding Singer, neglecting to thank him during his speech spoke volumes about the entire situation. Earlier in awards season, Malek had not addressed the situation at all, which came under some scrutiny. That said, he did recently speak out about his experience with Singer, stating that it "was not pleasant at all." And, though he did not elaborate any further, perhaps the subtle approach of specifically not thanking Singer says more than saying anything at all.