He could have been egotistical, but he wasn’t.

He could have become political, but he didn’t.

He could have been ungrateful, especially to is early critics, but he chose to be refrained.

He could have been reserved, closed, inaccessible, but instead he was open, personal, unrestrained.

He could have been soundbyte-ready as he responded to reaching the climax of celebration of the greatest performance of his life, but he chose to go unscripted, unedited, unmatched.

An artist who has brought back to life the larger-than-life greatness of another, Rami Malek is, unquestionably and unmatched, a class act. Even his Oscar statuette seems to be bowing in praise.

Just hours ago, 2019’s Best Actor took to the stage of the 91st Academy Awards in front of the industry’s finest and elite, and almost 30 million viewers outside of Hollywood’s iconic Dolby Theatre. It was not his first time receiving the industry’s highest honours – ‘Best Actor’. Awards season had been Rami’s Spring. Across the world, stage lights were shone upon him, calling him to receive yet another trophy for his remarkable portrayal of the legendary, gone-too-soon Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen, the edgy songbird’s original band members watching on in the audience with quiet, tearful pride.

Which is why at the Oscars, the finale of the industry’s schedule of the awarding of statues. he could have been jaded, just a bit unphased, another award not unexpected.

Instead, the only repeat performance he gave was one of pure, genuine, purposeful gratitude: gratitude for the trust, courage, vision, patience and faith of others.

Gratitude for his feeling of difference creating a sense of sameness with the character, the hero, he was to portray. Grateful for simply having a job.

To watch Rami Malek as Rami Malek, to listen to his inner thoughts become his quotable voice, is a re-positioning of a compass. In a world where the person and the personality can become two profoundly different things, where people are forgiven for their becoming distracted by external pressures to ‘keep it real’ by keeping themselves really interesting, to stop, be still, and listen to Rami Malek feels as beautifully, sweetly simple as watching a child approach an it’s all for you candy store with wide eyes, awed by the limitless amounts of goodies in front of him, and then slowly, tentatively, shyly choosing just one, checking again if it is ok to take.

To hear his words feels as if it is to listen to the whisper of his core. It is to hear a clean, warm, peacefully moving breeze. And to give thanks for the reminder of which direction the compass points.

Life imitating art? Or art liberating life?

Having left the stage following yet another magnificent acceptance speech, somehow, beautifully, his last words to the press seem to be those that will be the most lasting. Especially when giving credit to one who gave him strength beyond measure, and to whom he will forever give thanks.:

I never thought I could possibly play Freddie Mercury until I realised his name was Farrokh Bulsara. And that is the most powerful message that was sent to me from the beginning.  That was the motivation that allowed me to say ‘Oh I can do this’. And that man steps on stage and he moves people in a way that no one else does. – All of that passion and virtue and everything burning inside him allowed him to look at everyone else and say “Hey, I see you.”

We all have someone to whom we owe our deepest, truest whispers of thanks. to whom our lives will forever be grateful – someone, somewhere, who, somehow, saw us. How beautifully he has captured this spirit, this praise, this thankful prayer.

Words, wisdom, so deserving of an encore. And a deep bow. x

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2019