With the ninety-first Academy Awards zooming ever closer into vision – albeit still with no host – we’ve asked some of #FilmTwitter‘s top bloggers to explain why their favourite Best Picture nominee should come out on top.
Following Plain Simple Tom’s A Star is Born advocacy, @GelNerd explains why Bohemian Rhapsody deserves to win Best Picture at the 2019 Oscars.
For a film overwhelmed by production nightmares, going back to 2010, and then sadly overshadowed by sexual assault allegations against former director Bryan Singer – soon replaced by Dexter Fletcher, director of 2019 Elton John biopic Rocketman – it’s safe to say many assumed the story of British rock band Queen and their frontman Freddie Mercury would never get off the ground.
But, as Rami Malek’s Mercury does to EMI execs, we salute the controversy and the doubters with a royal two fingers to prove that critical lambasting and the dark actions of others can be overcome. It can be overcome by those individuals with great talent, passion for their art and respect for the source material who all deserve to be supported. This does not mean you, in turn, support the actions or behaviour of Bryan Singer but that argument is for another platform.
When it comes to awards season, our brains tune into the standard. Certain directors and actors come out of the woodwork to really pull out the stops to give us harrowing, hopeful, emotional, often factual, grounded, political, sometimes absurd, controversial, raw films that somehow include everything including all forms of abuse (drink, drug, sexual, emotional, physical), political scandal, facing down dark fears and negativity, changing the world, making a statement…and pretty much repeat a formulae we all know. You can smell awards bait a mile off, and only during this season in Hollywood do critics and fans turn ugly – what film deserves to win, which actor is best, what crew broke new ground.
It’s barbaric, often insulting and nothing but divisive to the luvvies in Hollywood.
So, who better to shake things up and throw a curveball into things than Freddie Mercury?
Rami Malek goes beyond what most lead actors do in playing a role. He BECOMES the man himself. There is little doubt his transformation into Freddie Mercury will go down in history as one of the best performances in a biopic. It’s not just his physical incarnation but the sheer energy and emotion he conveys at just the right time and the Oscar for Lead Actor will help confirm this.
This is about Best Picture. This is about collaboration, just like the band itself. Collaboration. A collaboration of talent coming together to do one thing – entertain.
Bohemian Rhapsody doesn’t conform to the usual standards of awards season, and all the better for it. It doesn’t try to hit home racial statements. It doesn’t use a narrative we’ve seen before. It doesn’t try to be artistic or thought-provoking. It doesn’t try to look deep at society and make you question our culture. It simply wants you to celebrate a world-famous rock group, tap your toes at the infectious soundtrack, immerse yourself ear shattering concerts and come out with a little more understanding of the man, the band and their music.
Who says something like this can’t stand for Best Picture? What is the definition of a “best picture” anyway? I’m the first to admit Bohemian Rhapsody came out of nowhere and surprised me by its the slow burning domination of major awards, not just for Rami, but the film itself. I’m also so proud of the film and the impact current Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor wanted it to have.
They didn’t set out to make this an award winner – they set out to honour and celebrate their friend and their legacy – so why the hell can’t this sentiment and heart stand for Best Picture just as much as anything else?
The film has nothing but respect for the family and friends of Mercury in depicting his less than easy journey through celebrity, and this is what caused many to frown upon it. They wanted to see the man’s demons. They wanted to see debauchery in his cocaine fuelled parties and see his gay orgies that led to his contracting of HIV. They wanted to see more fights, more fall-outs, more pain and more darkness.
If I were a lifelong friend of Mercury, a man who doesn’t NEED a biopic for his dark side to be known to many, then I would not want to make this cinematic voyeurism into such a world. If you need to know the dark depths of stories you’ve heard about, read one of the many biographies out there. Be a Paul Prenter and dig us as much as you can on his darker, fragile side.
If you want to get a taste for the struggles this man – and Queen – faced not just accepting his sexuality but also his creative vision, and you want to watch it with your family of various ages, then Bohemian Rhapsody delivers. It’s here for all sexes and all ages to discover Queen and Mercury as either new or old fans. It’s not out to shame, to offend, to make a statement, to shock, to uproot. It’s here to entertain and celebrate.
The production of live music concerts is as authentic as I imagine it was being there. The costumes and make-up take us from the 70s and 80s and don’t shy from all the glam and pomp of the industry. The editing is as frantic at times as the band itself on stage but it’s unpolished and not perfect, like our lead characters. It’s not a polished and perfect film at all – but it is honest and passionate about the story.
Behind the film are a cast and crew of hundreds, each of whom have put heart and soul into it. They deserve to feel applauded and praised out of Bryan Singer’s dark shadow, and also to Dexter Fletcher coming in to finish production.
Best Picture nominations should not look for by-the-book film-making, production and talent. What defines such things, and who has a right to say this underdog doesn’t deserve to stand tall among the others? The Best Picture should be out there a little more. A little more radical, a little more daring, a little more outrageous and controversial – just like Freddie Mercury.
But what, you ask, makes Bohemian Rhapsody any different from all the other wannabe biopic award contenders you’ve been watching? I’ll tell you what it is.
It’s a misfit, contending with films you wouldn’t think belong together, and made for all the other misfits. The outcast’s right at the back of the cinema who are pretty sure they don’t belong either.
This film belongs to them.
Do you agree with Chris? Read our review here and let us know your thoughts in the comments!