Bohemian Rhapsody has mostly had a charmed awards season after its release in November of 2018, likely propelled along by the fact that Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor were actively involved in the press leading up to the release of the flick and the awards season that came after. While Brian May was actively engaged in Bohemian Rhapsody and its success, he recently revealed that the negativity from the media took a toll on him.
The actor was very blunt in his concerns about the way the awards season race is run, although he was also quick to point out that he is grateful Bohemian Rhapsody was in the conversation at all this awards season. In a lengthy post, May revealed how he felt about the long ride to the Oscars, noting:
I was, and I am, deeply grateful for our Freddie film being recognised in a way we never had the audacity to expect. But I found the public activity behind the whole awards season, and the behaviour of the media writers surrounding it, deeply disturbing. If you look at the Press and Internet discussions that took place over the last few months, you can see that 90% of it is aimed at discrediting one or other, or all of the nominated films by innuendo and smears, rather than discussing their merits and admiring the skills that went into making them. Vitriol and dishonesty, and blatant attempts to shame and influence the members into voting the way they, in their arrogance required them to.
Bohemian Rhapsody, despite being the lowest rated Golden Globes winner since Out Of Africa, stood up well against the naysayers during the latest awards season. The movie went on to win numerous accolades – most notably for Rami Malek’s performance—and even took home four statues at the recent 2019 Oscars event.
During the Oscars, a performance from Queen + Adam Lambert really got the event off to a rocking start, and both Brian May and Roger Taylor seemed into being at the event. Apparently, that joy at performing was tempered a bit for Brian May, who revealed on Instagram that the politics and news noise surrounding awards season took a great toll.
It’s not the fault of the awards panels - they stood up well. It’s a kind of vindictive sickness that seems to have gripped public life. All through it, I’ve been biting my tongue, not wishing to influence the results of the ballots even by a hair. But, when the curtain came down, I was left with very mixed feelings
What Happened Leading Up To The Oscars
Both Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody had to suffer through months of people complaining about how the movies didn’t fully stick to factual details concerning the real-life individuals the movie followed. For Green Book, this meant Dr. Donald Shirley was not portrayed accurately. For Bohemian Rhapsody, the focus was less on Freddie Mercury’s personal life than some would have preferred. In addition, some people were unhappy with timeline changes.
On the bright side, Brian May did reveal after he performed at the Oscars that there was a bright spot that came from one of the people putting together the event. He mentioned of the Oscars,
The head of local production came up to me and shook my hand as we left the auditorium. He said, ‘I’ve been doing the Oscars for 40 years, and that was the best opening we ever had!’ A lovely moment.
Shortly before the Oscars aired, Brian May and Roger Taylor reacted to performing, with May noting he was ready to “make [Oscars people] proud.”
What Brian May Has Said When He Has Spoken On The Topic Before
This isn’t the first time that Brian May has spoken out regarding a lot of the criticism that Bohemian Rhapsody faced after its release. He previously said of the criticism that it has been steeped in “similar jealous righteousness” to what Queen faced when the band was producing new music. Ending on a positive note, he also said:
My feeling is … that on the whole, between Graham, and Fox, and the whole team — including DoP, Editor, Sound, crews, extras, and us — we made the right film. It makes me happy to see the fine work done by our team recognized, as it has been.
Bohemian Rhapsody may not have endeared itself to every critic out there, but at the end of the day, it certainly endeared itself to a wide swath of fans. The movie made a boatload of money worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing musical biopic at the box office ever. It's also already available on home entertainment, and was the #1 debut in those sales during its first week of release in February.
It's one of several movies this awards season that were more populist winners and went on to do quite well at the box office, including Black Panther and A Star Is Born, as well. We'll have to wait and see if this ends up being a pattern during awards season or if indie darlings will end up being the main contenders once more.