"Bohemian Rhapsody" has been stuck in a whirlwind of news lately, with only some of it positive. After the film won Best Drama at the Golden Globes, a wave of backlash on all social media fronts sparked an important conversation about whether the movie deserves to and even whether it should be allowed to be recognized at the upcoming Oscars ceremony. That line of thinking is ridiculous.
It implies that a movie's value is dictated by its director, while also ignoring the fact that thousands of other crew members might deserve recognition for their contributions to the film.
Still, some recent twitterstorms have shown that people are buying into the anti-"Bohemian Rhapsody" campaign. After the movie's Golden Globe victories, young actress Elsie Fisher, unaware of the brewing controversy, enthusiastically tweeted:
"IM SO HAPPY RAMI MALEK AND BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY WON GOLDEN GLOBES IM THRILLED TONIGHT IS THE BEST NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Fisher was instantly met with a slew of angry replies criticizing her for supporting the movie's rotten director. Confused by the backlash, Elsie Fisher took to Twitter once again to ask:
"Why is everyone being so mean about this? I'm genuinely sorry if I did something wrong :("
For anyone, like Fisher, out of the loop on this controversy, the movie "Bohemian Rhapsody" itself is inoffensive and a very straightforward yet powerful cinematic tribute to the life and legacy of Freddie Mercury and Queen.
The problem is with its director, Bryan Singer, who was accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old boy a year ago. Singer was a very prominent Hollywood figure at the time, known best for directing the "X-Men" movies and "The Usual Suspects," making his fall from grace a sudden one. Right before the allegations surfaced, Fox fired him from the project for unprofessional behavior and hired another director to complete the film. Since the majority of the movie had already been filmed by Singer when the new director was brought in, DGA (Director's Guild of America) guidelines forced Fox to credit "Bryan Singer" as the movie's director. There's where the trouble began.
Hearing that a "Bryan Singer-directed film" won a major award at the Golden Globes or that "Bryan Singer's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' has great Oscar chances" is hard. It's hard for supporters of the #MeToo movement who wish to take a stand against perpetrators of sexual violence. It's hard as a film fan to accept that love is being shown to a movie directed by someone who represents all the worst parts of Hollywood.
Everything about the legacy of "Bohemian Rhapsody" is hard to swallow. But as difficult as it is, it's just as important to separate Singer's legacy from the work accomplished by countless others.
A movie is more than a sum of its parts, so for one of those parts to be revealed as a sexual predator shouldn't determine how we see the movie as a whole. After all, there's much more to "Bohemian Rhapsody" than just its director: there's the stellar cast, the cinematographer, the assistant directors, the uncredited second director and a thousand more crew members whose roles are normally reduced to a line of rolling text in the end credits. If the movie is indeed one of the best movies of the year, each of those people deserves to be recognized for working their asses off on it.
If all is right with the universe, Bryan Singer has no chance in hell of winning an award for his directing. However, considering how much awards buzz the movie's getting right now, I wouldn't be surprised if Rami Malek (the movie's Freddie Mercury) scores a nomination for Best Actor or if the film as a whole is nominated for Best Picture. If the Academy grants it either of those honors, the rest of us have an important duty to step outside of our anger and frustration towards Singer and have respect for everyone else involved.