“Fortune favors the bold.” ~Jim (Miami) Beach – Attorney/Manager for Queen
Last night was the Oscars. When I was in my 20’s+ I couldn’t wait for Oscar night as I was an avid movie goer and had seen all the movies vying for “Best Picture” but over time it was turned into a political forum, became boring, imo, and during my 40’s I rarely went to movies so had no idea about any of the “Best” nominations. Last night, however, I was on pins and needles – so hoping Rami Malek would get Best Actor for “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He already won Best Actor at the Golden Globes and British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) events earlier in the year and “Bohemian Rhapsody” won Best Motion Picture – Drama at the Golden Globes and Best Sound at BAFTA. Debates abounded among movie critics, various arts & entertainment features on NPR (National Public Radio) and, of course, those responding to YouTube videos. Was the Golden Globes awards a nod to Rami and/or the movie or was it a preview of things to come? So many opinions.
Having only seen one of the eight nominated movies, I really didn’t have any comparison for “Bohemian Rhapsody” except the movie trailers and, as I discovered after seeing “BoRhap,” sometimes trailers can be misleading. The movies were an odd assortment: three with racial themes, one political, a black and white film entry that looks interesting – not sure how to categorize it – probably political/drama, a historical period movie that has been referred to as a “romp,” the third remake of a 1937 movie, and one “biopic” about the meteoric rise of a 1970’s rock group, particularly telling the story of its flamboyant, albeit conflicted, lead singer/front man. How does one even compare such diverse themes? Given the variety I didn’t really expect “BoRhap” to win but I most definitely believed Rami deserved the best actor award.
During the first in-person interview for the movie, Rami told the producers that he wasn’t the type of actor who “sold himself” and, where this particular movie was concerned, he can’t sing, dance, nor play an instrument plus doesn’t have a British accent. In interviews after he was given the role of Freddie Mercury, Rami said he doesn’t really know why he was chosen except that he was told the producers liked his work in “Mr. Robot,” and having a strong jawline like Freddie. As I mentioned in the previous entry, the amount of work and dedication Rami put into the role is nothing less than amazing. Rami watched all the footage he could get of Freddie Mercury, both performing, and in his daily life, took daily music, piano, and singing lessons; had a diction coach and, after realizing that a choreographer wouldn’t work since Freddie’s moves were never choreographed or “rote,” Rami worked with a movement coach. Each time I watch one of the videos (a good part of the movie is now being posted on YouTube) I’m blown away by how Rami captured even the tiniest movement nuances of Freddie; as small as a certain flick of the hand or a nod as he walked by people. Having done a very small amount of stage acting in college and for an amateur group in my 30’s, I can attest that acting is a lot harder than it looks, thus I salute each of the Oscar nominees but I truly believe Rami was given almost impossible shoes to try to fill or, better said, re-create.
Rami’s fellow cast members said that Rami stayed in character even when not filming; Rami has said that he carried a metal half-mic (Freddie’s trademark) with him almost everywhere he went to become comfortable with handling it; even his co-star, Lucy Boynton who played “the love of Freddie’s life,” Mary Austin, said she never got to know “Rami” during the entire time of working with him daily since he stayed in character. It wasn’t until after the movie wrapped that she did and the pair are now dating which is a bit poignant since a huge part of Freddie Mercury’s life, as well as portrayed in the movie, was his life-long relationship with Mary.
I was too nervous to watch the Oscars plus there were only two awards in which I was interested so I periodically checked YouTube and Twitter. The first time I did I was astonished, to put it mildly, that Queen (the band) opened the Oscars, and magnificently so! After Freddie died, the remaining three members of Queen continued touring although eventually the bass guitarist, John Deacon, dropped out of touring and is now somewhat of a recluse, leading a quiet life in a small English village but is still Queen’s financial manager. While looking for another “front man,” a young man named Marc Martel sent a video of himself to Queen singing one of the songs. He sounds so much like Freddie it is almost eerie and there is chatter about, “Could he be Freddie’s secret son?” Very unlikely as Marc’s family lives in Canada but his voice and even how he holds his mouth when singing are almost identical. Some of Marc’s vocals are included in the movie but, although Marc sounds exactly like Freddie, Queen didn’t want a Freddie clone but someone who embodied more of his “essence” on stage. Their choice was a former American Idol contestant named Adam Lambert. Adam doesn’t sound nor look like Freddie but he’s flamboyant in an often “over-the-top” manner and has been touring with Queen drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May for a number of years.
They opened the Oscars with the rousing “We Will Rock You” with the “stomp-stomp-clap” that is played at many sports events and had everyone on their feet. It was heartwarming to see stars I recognized rocking out with huge smiles on their faces. The song was followed by one perfect for the Oscars, “We Are the Champions.” I was rocking and singing along until Freddie’s image was put up on the screen behind the group at the end of their performance and tears filled my eyes:
After watching that a few times…I saw the news: Rami did indeed win Best Actor!
“Bohemian Rhapsody” did not win Best Movie as I pretty much expected, but it did win Oscars for Sound Editing, Film Editing, and Sound Mixing. It and another movie tied for winning the most Oscars.
Family from Kentucky have been in town for the last two weeks; between visiting and the Oscars I’m worn out…in a good way!