By all rights, “Bohemian Rhapsody” should not be nominated for Best Picture. The film’s director was fired with two weeks of filming remaining. It received a less than enthusiastic response from critics. Add in the fact that director Bryan Singer’s behavior on set has recently come to light (again), and this Queen biopic seemed destined to be looked over this award season.
Yet, “Bohemian Rhapsody” now has a Golden Globe victory and a chance to repeat at the Oscars. So, the question remains why is “Bohemian Rhapsody” here?
The cynical answer would be to assume that the Hollywood powers that be are morally bankrupt. While that may be true, I’m not sure that’s the answer. If anything, recent changes in the Academy’s policies and nominations contradict that theory. I think the answer is far less sinister and incredibly simple — it’s Queen.
This band of misfits captured the world’s hearts long ago, and it’s clear they still have them. While the film may not have been a critical success, that’s kind of completely on brand for Queen. The sequence in which excerpts of critics responses to Bohemian Rhapsody (the song) flash across the screen makes this painfully clear.
Of course, at the heart of Queen and “Bohemian Rhapsody” is Freddie Mercury. If you’ve heard nothing else about the film, odds are you’ve heard about Rami Malek’s turn as this iconic performer. It’s a performance that sticks with you. Malek’s performance is over the top, subtle, and a beautiful mess of contradictions. It’s Freddie Mercury.
The film hits its stride when Queen is just being Queen. Whether it’s in the recording studio, performing on stage or arguing over who’s song will be used as a single. There’s a chemistry that makes it hard to look away.
While the film may rely a little too much on the concert performances, it’s hard to care when you have a front row seat at Live Aid. Queen is after all first and foremost about the music. Why should “Bohemian Rhapsody” be any different?
…just for fun: