Bohemian Rhapsody editor John Ottoman addresses the terribly edited scene in the movie. The biographical film about Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the iconic band Queen, was a commercial success becoming the highest-grossing musical biopic of all-time, but it went through a lot of controversies even before it made its way to theaters. While Bryan Singer got sole credit for directing the flick, the filmmaker was reportedly rarely on set and often clashed with the actors leading to his firing several weeks before principal photography wrapped up. Dexter Fletcher (who is helming the Elton John biopic musical, Rocketman starring Taron Egerton) came in to finish the movie, who got executive producing credit instead.
The film was an award season darling, winning multiple accolades such as Best Motion Picture - Drama at the 76th Golden Globe Awards, while Rami Malek, who portrayed Mercury, collected a slew of Best Actor wins of his own, including the top prize at the 91st Academy Awards. All in all, Bohemian Rhapsody got four Oscars including Best Film Editing for Ottoman which raised a lot of eyebrows especially considering the pub scene in the film that has gone viral for the number of cuts it has.
Speaking with The Washington Post, Ottoman was presented with the sequence which was shared and mocked countless times online, especially when it won Best Film Editing. Admitting to the atrociously edited Bohemian Rhapsody section, he offered some context on how that came to be. As it turns out "it was one of the scenes shot by Fletcher in the post-Singer home stretch" and "the story line also got reordered a bit, and dialogue in the original meeting between the band and manager John Reid no longer made sense," according to the report.
"Oh, my God! Wow. I didn’t know about that, but I know why that’s out there... Whenever I see it, I want to put a bag over my head. Because that’s not my aesthetic. If there’s ever an extended version of the film where I can put a couple scenes back, I will recut that scene!”
The article added more information, saying that Ottoman was "under pressure to make the film’s first act move swiftly," however, test screenings revealed that audiences actually liked Queen's early days. With that in mind, "he slowed those scenes down and let them breathe more — but he didn’t have time to do so with that meeting."
It's no secret that aside from Green Book's Best Picture win during this year's Academy Awards, Bohemian Rhapsody's Best Film Editing's was the most highly-contested result of that night. Up until now, this is a hot topic, especially for film aficionados. The scene in question wasn't even decently edited and it sure wasn't deserving of at least an Oscar nod. But perhaps the film's almost perfect recreation of the Live Aid set is what really won it the accolade. The two scenes are so different in terms of quality that it's difficult to believe that the same editing team worked on them. In any case, at least Ottoman knows about these criticisms and the public has a better idea of what he was working with that resulted in that sequence.
Source: The Washington Post