Long live Queen. Bohemian Rhapsody took the statuette for best drama at the 76th Golden Globes and Rami Malek won best actor for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury. In a surprise to some who’d pinned predictions on the other music-saturated film on the ballot, the Queen biopic bested A Star Is Born, which won for best song, “Shallow.”
With Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor in the audience, Malek tipped his hat to the original Queen members for “ensuring authenticity and inclusivity exist in music and in the world and all of us,” and then turned his praise to his music for the film. “Thank you to Freddie Mercury. I love you, you beautiful man, this is because of you, gorgeous.”
Backstage, May discussed the mission in creating the film. “We had this thing that if we didn’t do it with the right people, it would get done wrong by somebody else and it wouldn’t do Freddie justice. We found the right people at the right time, or we wouldn’t be standing here.”
One of those collaborators — director Bryan Singer, who was fired from the production just weeks before it wrapped after a series of reported absences on the set — was left out of the acceptance speeches on stage. Asked later about the omission, producer Graham King initially deflected the question, before noting, “Every single person involved in this film collaborated and did it in the passion of telling this story.”
Added Malek, “There’s only one thing we wanted to do and that is to celebrate Freddie Mercury with this film. There is only one Freddie Mercury, and nothing was going to compromise us giving him the love, celebration and adulation he deserves.”
May also addressed the early lukewarm critical response to the film. “To be honest the mistake some of the critics made was to review the trailer and then jump to conclusions. And when people do stake their claim on something it’s hard for them to withdraw. A couple of them have rather graciously said, Actually, we were wrong.”
“Queen has had a history of some of the worst press of any major band in the world,” said Anthony McCarten, who penned the screenplay. “Our musical in London opened to some of the worst reviews in the West End and ran for 14, 16 years. This movie has been accepted by the public, and I believe the public is the great arbiter — and the one important thing is Freddie believed that as well and I’m sure he’s with us in how we did this film. We did a film for people to enjoy, to laugh, to cry and to celebrate.”
Here are 12 other things you didn’t see on TV:
• Lady Gaga stays in the shallow. When a reporter asks her about taking direction from Bradley Cooper, she immediately redirects. “I would answer that except that this is for best original song… what we are really excited to be on stage for is how much he believed in this song. We were just talking about how this song is really counterculture in a lot of ways. It doesn’t quite fit in with what you think of as a commercial song and still people connected to it, and that means a lot to us.”
• Art imitating life: “We sat on stoops together just talking about music, just like Jack and Ally,” said Gaga. “So there ain’t nothing realer than what you’re looking at right now… As a musician I’ve watched movies that have the music world in it and I’m like, No no no. That’s not it and I instantly flag it. And [Cooper] just nails it. He nails it from the first moment in the film when see him pop those pills and drink some gin and walk on stage and start playing guitar and I fall right into it.”
• Mark Ronson and Bradley Cooper did Glastonbury together: “Does anyone know Glastonbury Festival? It’s the biggest festival, 80,000 people, and I see Bradley Cooper walking around at 4am trying to catch the last band. That’s how much he loves music,” Ronson said.
• Mike Myers really, really likes Queen. “I had a chance to make a movie, Wayne’s World and I said I wanted [the song] to be “Bohemian Rhapsody.” And there was a little resistance to it and I said, ultimately I don’t want to make the movie if it isn’t ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ ”
• The theremin factor: Composer Justin Hurwitz toiled over how to give the electronic instrument its best voice in the film First Man. “When we started out the theremin was not being used the right way,” he said. “In early versions of film it was a lot brighter and harsher in a lot of places. We learned we had to mellow it out and give it almost a voice-like quality. It’s in almost every cue but it’s buried, and it comes to the fore during the Apollo mission. It becomes Neil [Armstrong’s] pain and all that he’s been stoically bottling away, and as I see it he’s now splitting open.”
• Mahershala Ali faced the music. The former basketball player called a do-over after he accepted his award. “There was so much happening on stage, I forgot to thank Kris Bowers. It’s a team, so we can’t do it without the other person.” Bowers not only composed the score for Green Book, he transcribed and played all of pianist Don Shirley’s original ‘60s recordings and taught Ali piano.
• “Three people in that auditorium tonight told me they sold cologne to Andrew Cunanan. He has become a very mythological figure,” said Ryan Murphy, creator of FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. “It’s a very emotional story and think when Versace was killed people thought they lost something, I felt I lost something. So this show has given people permission to grieve for what could’ve been.”
• Sandra Oh and that masturbation thing with the cast of This Is Us… “All I was thinking about was that word, and landing that joke. That’s it. The entire night,” she said. “That was my last joke of the night. I was standing there with a statuette in my hand and all I’m thinking about is that word, and I’ve got to land it.”
• Patricia Arquette really hates the dentist. That F bomb that got bleeped out on the telecast? “It was an unplanned F bomb,” she said. “Dental dramas are real, trust me.”
• Patricia Clarkson is superstitious. “I won’t let anyone say anything about winning, and if they do I make them turn around three times and pit. It’s an old theater superstition.”
• Family guy: Michael Douglas tipped his hat to his father for giving him the best advice he’s ever gotten. “He was out of a school where you give it your best shot, want to walk away knowing you gave it the best you can and then, fuck it. that’s the best advice I ever got.”
• Not shaken or stirred: Those rumors of Richard Madden becoming the next James Bond? “They’re just rumors,” Madden said. He next appears on screen playing John Reid, Elton John’s long-time manager and former lover.