The controversy that marred Bohemian Rhapsody‘s tumultuous production has shadowed the film all the way to awards season, but that hasn’t stopped the film from collecting its things on the way to the Oscars. On Sunday night (January 6), the film took home two Golden Globes, one for star Rami Malek and another for the film itself: Best Motion Picture, Drama.
It was a surprise for many reasons. Bohemian Rhapsody received mixed reviews from critics, and while it made money at the box office, it didn’t have the cultural resonance of some of the category’s other nominated films, namely A Star Is Born and the year’s highest-grossing film, Black Panther. The Queen biopic also suffered serious blows during production.
Jim Beach, Roger Taylor and Brian May of Queen, Rami Malek, producer Graham King, and actor Mike Myers
In 2017, director Bryan Singer was fired from the project midway through filming after his repeated absences from set caused serious friction between him and the studio and, reportedly, Malek. (Singer has also been accused of sexual assault.) Dexter Fletcher stepped in to finish the film because, well, the show must go on — but there was no mention of Singer on Sunday night, despite the fact that his name is still listed in the credits as “director.”
Instead, upon accepting their awards, Malek and producer Graham King chose to focus on the efforts of the cast, crew, and most importantly, Queen and Freddie Mercury. “The power of movies is that it brings us all together,” the producer said onstage. “Freddie Mercury and Queen did that so successfully through their music and that’s what we always wanted to accomplish in the cinema.”
When pressed backstage to account for Singer’s role in the film, the question was avoided altogether. One of the producers responded, “That’s not something we should talk about tonight,” before Queen’s Brian May added, “Good question, though.”
Meanwhile, Malek chose to redirect the conversation entirely: “There’s only one thing we needed to do, and that was to celebrate Freddie Mercury.”
As for Singer, the director acknowledged the film’s big Golden Globe win on social media, posting a behind-the-scenes photo from set — with himself in the director’s chair. “What an honor,” he wrote, before thanking the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the award.
While Bohemian Rhapsody‘s win at the Golden Globes does give the troubled film momentum heading into the Oscars, it’s not a particularly strong indicator of its chances, especially if the backlash continues to pick up steam. And let’s not forget that there’s not a lot of overlap between the two voting bodies of these awards — and as the Academy becomes more diverse, so do the films it champions.
Of course with Oscar voting kicking off today (January 7), we’ll have to wait and see.