Dirty secrets: The problematic nature of Bryan Singer’s involvement with the Oscar-nominated ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Graphic by Nina Potischman

CW: Mentions of sexual assault and violence

“Bohemian Rhapsody” won Best Motion Picture – Drama at the 2019 Golden Globes in early January. A few weeks later, the film was nominated for best picture at the upcoming 2019 Oscars.

The film’s award performance is surprising for two reasons.

First, the film itself is bad, very bad. Bad enough that Twitter users have taken to highlighting scenes from it that could be used to teach a class on how NOT to edit or shoot a film, due to its awful cinematic techniques.

The second, more important issue with the film’s accolades is the involvement of Bryan Singer, a director accused of numerous cases of vile sexual assault and pedophila.

Singer had been signed up to direct the film since its early stages of pre-production, but 20th Century Fox removed him from production and the film’s promotion after 85 percent of filming was completed due to erratic behavior. The studio’s attempt to scrub any mention of Singer from the film was likely not due to behavioral indiscretions, but instead an attempt to salvage the film from any negative responses to Singer’s criminal allegations in a post #MeToo world.

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Singer’s removal in order to save the film worked exactly to plan. “Bohemian Rhapsody” was a gigantic box office hit, and the film could very well win the Oscar for best picture. Despite Singer’s lack of public involvement in the film, he could still be awarded for his contributions, which is a problematic feature of the upcoming Academy Awards.

Singer is also expected to earn around $40 million because of the movie. A year after the Oscars emphasized the need to make serious changes in the wake of #MeToo, they are recognizing and awarding an alleged rapist.

On a larger scale, the problematic nature of the film’s success is another case of a lack of consequences for the powerful, predatory villains of the #MeToo and “Time’s Up” movements. Harvey Weinstein is not going to jail because he has enough money and influence to work the legal system. Les Moonves is most likely going to receive a $120 million severance package after resigning at CBS due to numerous allegations of sexual assault. Now, Singer might win an Oscar in a few weeks.

Hollywood has to do better. The Oscars have to do better. We have to do better. Monsters like Singer should not be saved from the consequences of their horrific acts, let alone rewarded, on any stage.

Ben Hafetz PZ ’20 is a media studies and politics double major. He likes to not only see movies, but also tell his friends why they should or should not like certain ones.

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