'Bohemian Rhapsody's' big Golden Globes wins divides movie fans

Hanna Flint
(L-R) Jim Beach, Roger Taylor, Brian May, Rami Malek with his Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, Graham King and Mike Myers pose backstage with their Best Motion Picture – Drama for “Bohemian Rhapsody” REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Bohemian Rhapsody won Best Motion Picture – Drama at the 2019 Golden Globes on Sunday night and it has caused quite a debate in movie land.

The Queen biopic’s nomination was a surprise for many considering there was a wealth of films released in 2018 – like First Man, Blindspotting and First Reformed – that were critically-acclaimed across the board but were snubbed by the Golden Globes voters made up of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

BlacKkKlansman, If Beale Street Could Talk, Black Panther and A Star is Born were some of the best-rated movies of the year, considered so by critics and audience members alike, and were nominees in the category but the same can’t be said for Bohemian Rhapsody, and that’s where the controversy lies.

The majority of critics felt the movie was all over the place and did a disservice to the memory of Freddie Mercury.

While it paid a lot of fan service when it came to the big hits and the Live Aid scene, and Rami Malek delivered an impressive performance as Mercury, the rest of the film took too much creative licence with the truth in order to produce a cheesy and mundane narrative.

The film was also accused of downplaying the queer side of Freddie Mercury’s life, as well as his racial background and experience, in order to focus on things like how Brian May came up with clapping on “We Will Rock You.”

Queen fans and audience members didn’t agree with this assessment and watched the movie in droves anyway, earning it £583 million at the international box office.

Of course, Queen already has an established global fan base that would have secured a serious number of ticket sales but like Mamma Mia Here We Go Again and The Greatest Showman, two films that also earned middling reviews upon each one’s release but earned big box office returns, clearly it catered to a big market of people who like to sing along with movies.

However, it’s not just because the film was the least critically-acclaimed in the category that people had issues with it winning. It’s because of its director Bryan Singer too.

Singer has long been a controversial figure in the movie industry with a history of disruptive on-set behaviour, including on Bohemian Rhapsody, from which he was fired and was replaced by Dexter Fletcher who completed the shoot.

It’s no coincidence that Rami Malek, who won Best Actor for playing Mercury, or the film’s producers Jim Beach and Grahame King failed to thank or reference Singer in their acceptance speeches.

There’s also the numerous allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct levied at him that have been quieted for many years until the #MeToo movement really came into effect in Hollywood.

Exactly a year after Time’s Up was launched at the Golden Globes, a movie made by an accused sexual predator wins the top award. Not exactly a great look for Hollywood or the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and it has people wondering how they go about voting.

The HFPA is made up of just 90 journalists and winners are decided by the First Past the Post method compared to the Academy of Motion Pictures and Science which has over 7,000 members so there’s a wider range of voices picking the Oscars than the Golden Globes.

That being said, the Globes has often seen many of its winners go on to win at the Academy Awards so while many people in the industry might think Bohemian Rhapsody’s success is an anomaly they could be proven wrong when the Oscar nominations come about.

Having said that, congratulations to Rami Malek.

Check out the FULL Golden Globes winners list here

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