Awards Profile: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ from Twentieth Century Fox

Rami Malek as rock icon Freddie Mercury in the upcoming Twentieth Century Fox/New Regency film BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY.

Welcome to the 2018 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you at some point this year (at least at this time of writing). We will analyze the potential for these films to be players for the Academy Awards, and while many of these have the potential to be recognized, many will not, either by quality or being pushed back to the following year. For the next few weeks, we will bring you a film every Monday through Friday to talk about their awards hopes and analyze the film’s chances for success. If you have a suggestion, please include it in the comments below. If you missed a movie, click on the tag or category Awards Profile.

FILM: “Bohemian Rhapsody”
PRODUCERS: Jim Beach, Robert DeNiro, Graham King, Brian May, Peter Oberth, Bryan Singer, Roger Taylor
DISTRIBUTOR: Twentieth Century Fox

DIRECTOR: Dexter Fletcher, Bryan Singer
WRITERS: Justin Haythe, Anthony McCarten

CAST: Rami Malek, Tom Hollander, Ben Hardy, Mike Myers, Aiden Gillen, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Joseph Mazzello

SYNOPSIS (via iMDB): A chronicle of the years leading up to Queen’s legendary appearance at the Live Aid concert in 1985.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCCEED:

Queen is one of the most prolific rock bands of all time. You can’t go to a sporting event without hearing their iconic anthem,”We Will Rock You,” or the celebratory, “We Are the Champions.” Queen is one of those bands that everyone seems to love, even if they think they hate rock music. But not a lot of people know the story behind the music. And, let’s face it, this is a band with a story that begs for the biopic treatment.

It’s not clear where this film will start. In 1970 London, when Freddie Mercury—still Farrokh Bulsara—joined the band Smile and suggested a name change? Or will it pick up in 1973 when they put out their first album? The script was co-written by Justin Haythe and Anthony McCarten. Haythe earned a BAFTA nomination for the film, “Revolutionary Road” in 2008. McCarten is a three-time Academy Award nominee, scoring a nomination for writing and producing “The Theory of Everything.” He also produced last year’s “Darkest Hour.” It’s a talented writing team with a knack for biopics.

There is also a great cast. Rami Malek stars as frontman Freddie Mercury. Malek has been nominated for two Golden Globes and an Emmy for his work on “Mr. Robot.” Ben Hardy joins in as drummer Roger Taylor. He starred on the British series “EastEnders,” as well as in “X-Men: Apocalypse” and “Only the Brave.” “Jamestown” star Gwilym Lee plays lead guitarist Brian May. And bass guitarist John Deacon is played by Joseph Mazzello. He’s all grown up since playing Tim in 1993’s “Jurassic Park.”

Regardless of how this film turns out, the one thing you can count on is a great soundtrack. That includes iconic music from Queen, as well as original score from John Ottman.

WHY IT MIGHT NOT SUCCEED:

Even before director and producer Bryan Singer was fired in December, people were speaking out in anger and frustration over a significant story element. The studio announced that this film would not address Mercury’s death from AIDS. Mercury died in 1991, and the film seemingly ended in 1985. But the fact that this critical aspect of the singer’s life would be dismissed entirely has been widely criticized. That isn’t a great look for a film riddled with other issues.

And, of course, the most prominent issue is Bryan Singer. He was officially let go for “creative differences” with Malek, and for frequently disappearing from the set for days on end. But the firing happened within weeks of Singer being officially accused of sexual harassment and assault against a seventeen-year-old boy. Fox replaced singer quickly with director Dexter Fletcher, but it seems he had completed enough of the film that they may share co-director credits on the finished project.

Even if Singer’s name doesn’t entirely tarnish “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Fletcher’s directing credits are sparse and unremarkable. He first directed “Wild Bill” in 2011. He followed that with “Sunshine on Leith” in 2013 and “Eddie the Eagle” in 2016. It’s true that a director doesn’t have to have a long pedigree to craft a great film, but since this isn’t entirely his, there are a lot of questions about how this will all turn out.

POTENTIAL AWARDS CATEGORIES IN PLAY:

  • Motion Picture—Jim Beach, Robert DeNiro, Graham King, Brian May, Peter Oberth, Bryan Singer, Roger Taylor
  • Director—Dexter Fletcher, Bryan Singer
  • Lead Actor—Rami Malek
  • Supporting Actor—Tom Hollander, Ben Hardy, Mike Myers, Aiden Gillen, Gwilym Lee, Joseph Mazzello
  • Supporting Actress—Lucy Boynton
  • Adapted Screenplay—Justin Haythe, Anthony McCarten
  • Production Design—Aaron Haye
  • Cinematography—Newton Thomas Sigel
  • Costume Design—Julian Day
  • Makeup and Hairstyling—Jo Barrass-Short, Lindy Bishop
  • Film Editing—John Ottman
  • Sound Mixing
  • Visual Effects

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CHECK OUT THE FIRST OFFICIAL SET OF
YEAR-IN-ADVANCE OSCAR PREDICTIONS
AND SEE WHERE “BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY” RANKS!