Oscar-Winning Bohemian Rhapsody Editor Wishes He Could Recut Mocked Meeting Scene

Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury being called an "angry lizard" at meeting with manager John Reid in Bo
(Image credit: (Fox))

Bohemian Rhapsody has found incredible success as the highest-earning music biopic worldwide, and as a four-time Oscar winner. The movie centering around Queen’s history as a band swept most of the technical categories at the Academy Awards, including Best Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Film Editing. The latter has been most heavily criticized online for its win, especially for the cut of the band’s first meeting with manager John Reid, which became a viral example of Oscar "injustice" on Twitter.

John Ottman, who was Bohemian Rhapsody’s editor, received a ton of honors during awards season. He was recently told of a viral video specifically criticizing the editing of that band meeting scene. Here was his reaction:

Oh my God! Wow. I didn’t know about that, but I know why that’s out there. Whenever I see [the scene], I want to put a bag over my head. Because that’s not my aesthetic. If there’s ever an extended version of the film where I can put a couple scenes back, I will recut that scene!

The Bohemian Rhapsody editor told The Washington Post that the restaurant scene was one of the few scenes shot by Dexter Fletcher shortly after previous director Bryan Singer was fired from the film. Some of the storyline was reordered, leading to a reshoot of the meeting between the band and their manager outside a London pub. Check out the scene found all over Twitter after the Oscars in all of its glory below:

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Feeling that whiplash? The flashy cut switches in this scene in particular caused an outcry over the internet, all questioning how the movie won an Oscar for Best Editing. John Ottman said he was under pressure to get the first act of Bohemian Rhapsody moving quickly, so some scenes ended up looking this way.

Later, when the movie was screened for test audiences, their feedback indicated they enjoyed learning about the band in their early years. So Ottman went back over those scenes and slowed them down. However, due to time constraints, he didn't get to do the same for the now much-mocked meeting scene. The editor certainly seems to regret it now looking back, per his recent words.

A recent video by Thomas Flight breaks down just why the Bohemian Rhapsody restaurant scene in question, and many of the other dialogue scenes, have terrible editing. Take a look:

You know there’s something wrong when a simple dialogue scene has 60 cuts in under two minutes – more than an action sequence in Transformers: The Last Knight. The video breaks down some major problems with the editing in Bohemian Rhapsody, along with why it may have been recognized for it by the Academy – because it’s noticeable. Though the YouTuber notes great movie editing is often not easy to detect.

The 2019 Best Film Editing honor isn’t the only Oscar winner that has been criticized this year. Best Picture going to Green Book has also perplexed moviegoers, along with First Man over Avengers: Infinity War for Best Visual Effects.

Did you notice Bohemian Rhapsody’s flashy editing and did it bother you when you watched it? Sound off in the comments below!

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.