Bohemian Rhapsody is the Trojan horse of film making in 2018, hiding hundreds and hundreds of brainless HFPA voters inside of it
On Sunday night (January 6), The Hollywood Foreign Press Association held its annual awards ceremony, The Golden Globes, from The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. Proceedings went without issue, including strong hosting performances from Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh, and some unexpected but deserving wins in even some of the more key categories e.g. Glenn Close – Best Actress – Drama. That is, until the winner for Best Motion Picture – Drama was announced.
Bohemian Rhapsody won. And it really, really shouldn’t have done.
This is a film saved entirely by its lead performance from Rami Malek as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, winner of Best Actor on the night, which coincidentally struggles to tell the story of Mercury with any sense of realism.
‘Liking Queen’s style should be irrelevant as to the enjoyment of the film, but Bohemian Rhapsody is genuinely so weak at connecting the lives of the performers to the power of their music it just becomes a slog when the songs don’t bring euphoric joy’ – Bohemian Rhapsody Review, Film Phor Thought
Aside from the inaccuracies Bohemian Rhapsody loves to pass as truth, the film struggles to even convey the simplest of cinematic qualities that make up a skilled production. Best Picture Awards are saved for films that show exquisite cinematic work in multiple departments, and history proves that. There’s no depth to the script, no charming cinematography and its actually even a poor use of Queen’s rapturous music.
The table below depicts every Best Motion Picture – Drama winner since 2010:
|Year||Film||Rotten Tomatoes||IMDB||Metacritic||Other BP Nominations||Other BP Wins|
|2010||The Social Network||95%||7.7||95%||24||22|
|2013||12 Years A Slave||95%||8.1||96%||35||25|
As standalone, Rotten Tomatoes can be a terribly misleading statistic, but add it to metacritic (the average score given by film critics) and the number of nominations and wins the films have had in other awards ceremonies in the Best Picture categories, suddenly a clear picture of how strange a choice Bohemian Rhapsody is as Best Picture – Drama winner.
Giving the award to Bohemian Rhapsody is hideously unprecedented in the worst way possible. The Golden Globes have celebrated such mediocrity, and this sets out a motion that films only need to be popular with audiences to win awards. Bohemian Rhapsody has the highest IMDB rating of all the winners since 2010, but this is the major statistic relaying audience feedback on films and television programmes. It is what the everyday moviegoer sees, not what the critics and filmmakers who have much closer ties to the industry are able to understand. It isn’t a criticism of the public, it’s merely an observation.
Audience awards have been created for this exact reason, and is largely why cinema is still revered the way it is with films of a smaller worldwide impact winning awards, because they are technically more impressive. Music awards have almost always gone to the most popular acts, but film has managed to stay away from that for a very long time, holding onto the integrity of this type of award.
Bohemian Rhapsody is a film that merely supplies Queen fans with Queen songs, and does not play host to any of the formal qualities that make up a powerful modern day feature. Freddie Mercury’s life had such an impact on so many and the story was there to be used, it just was not handled in the correct manner. This form of film should not be celebrated, especially not by America’s second largest film awards ceremony. It’s only had one other nomination for Best Picture across the board. That is an atrocious return.
Even against this years other nominations, Bohemian Rhapsody doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
|Film||Rotten Tomatoes||IMDB||IMDB Ratings||Metacritic||Other Award Nominations|
|A Star Is Born||90%||8.1||128,895||88%||145|
|Bohemian Rhapsody||62%||8.3||174,016||42%||26 (14 of these are for Rami Malek)|
|If Beale Street Could Talk||94%||7.8||2,916||87%||114|
(P.s. Bohemian Rhapsody is the only one of these films without a separate Wikipedia page for its list of accolades)
Bohemian Rhapsody’s reach has been enormous (Don’t forget Black Panther had nine months of extra time to rack up ratings than Bohemian Rhapsody), coming 8th in the year’s highest grossing film list, and it has been loved by many. It seems to have tapped into the nostalgia many have for the music of Queen, but that doesn’t make it a good film.
Heck, Bohemian Rhapsody wasn’t even the best musical film nominated in the wrong category. The Golden Globes splits films into: Best Motion Picture – Drama, and Best Motion Picture – Musical Or Comedy. Bohemian Rhapsody is far more of a musical than it is a drama, and the same argument can certainly be had for A Star Is Born. Something has gone seriously wrong at the Golden Globes this year, and cinema should be worried.
Even when comparing it to the other nominees, the choice just does not stand up. Black Panther is more global, A Star Is Born is a better piece of musical cinema, BlacKkKlansman is more important, and I haven’t seen If Beale Street Could Talk, but it’s trailer is more enticing than Bohemian Rhapsody is as a feature.
Other awards ceremonies don’t like it, history doesn’t like it, and the critics don’t like it. It can’t be an underdog because underdog’s need something about them. Bohemian Rhapsody is the Trojan horse of film making in 2018, hiding hundreds and hundreds of brainless HFPA voters inside of it.
I didn’t have anything against Bohemian Rhapsody (maybe I do now) but it should not be winning awards for things it is not good at. Best Actor? Fine. Rami Malek puts in a wonderful performance. But Best Motion Picture? No. It isn’t even a good motion picture, let alone the best.
By giving this type of film the highest of awards, the results feel skewed, and that may well put off future film makers. Nobody makes a film to win awards, but if the top prizes are in the wrong hands, asking ‘What is the point in trying to win these awards?’ begins to become a legitimate question.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association have got this pick so violently wrong. They have sent out an ideology that celebrating technical mediocrity is okay, as long as its popular with the public. Bohemian Rhapsody shouldn’t have been nominated; Bohemian Rhapsody was nominated in the wrong category; And Bohemian Rhapsody doesn’t even tell its story truthfully.
The baton has been officially been handed over to the Academy Awards. I’m resigned to the fact Bohemian Rhapsody will receive a nomination for Best Picture, but please, for the love of film, don’t let it win.