Queen guitarist Brian May predicted that actor Rami Malek would appear on the Oscar nominations list for his work on Bohemian Rhapsody, and added that it would be well-deserved.

The story of Freddie Mercury has now generated over $404 million and is on course to become the biggest-grossing music biopic in the North American market. Despite receiving some negative criticism for the film itself, most reviewers were complimentary about Malek’s performance as Mercury.

“He’s incredible,” May said of Malek. “Without doubt he’ll be on the nominations list for an Oscar, and well deserved as well. He inhabited Freddie to the point where we even started to think of him as Freddie. Really remarkable.”

He continued, “We’ve lived with this project for nine years and it’s incredible to see it doing so well. It came out to shitty reviews, as some of our work has before, but the public has embraced it magnificently. Everybody gave 200 per cent, from the actors and technicians to the production team and hair and makeup, everyone. You don’t get any lukewarm responses. The guy who plays me [Gwilym Lee] should be getting awards all over.”

In a recent interview with Deadline, Malek recalled how he’d been honest about his lack of musical ability when he was discussed the role with producer Graham King. “We sat down for a six-hour meeting and he’d really only seen me in Mr Robot, where I played this profoundly alienated, socially anxious human being who’s a pretty far cry from Freddie Mercury,” the actor said. “Graham saw something in me… and gave me a shot. I said, ‘listen, I’m not a singer. I don’t play the piano. I move in a very interesting way on a dance floor – I don’t know if I’d call it rhythm.’… I just said, ‘if I have the time, I can get there. If you help me out with the things I need.’”

The Oscar nominations will be announced January 22, 2019.

Freddie Mercury Through the Years: Photo Gallery