Critics’ reactions to Bohemian Rhapsody have been mixed – click here to read Sarah’s thoughts on the film if you missed it – but it is definitely a crowd-pleaser with the box office to match, already crossing the $100 million mark in the US and bringing in strong numbers internationally for a total gross of $290 million so far and counting. And while not everyone agrees about the movie, the consensus is that Rami Malek delivers an outstanding performance as Freddie Mercury. Which means he’s an Oscar contender for Best Actor.
Earlier this week, Gold Derby listed five reasons Rami might not just be nominated but why he could take the Best Actor Oscar. One of those reasons is that he would be heavily favoured at the BAFTAs (Freddie was British, after all) and the Screen Actors Guild. Because the actors voting on the SAGs would appreciate Rami’s biographical portrayal. That they would, more than others, understand the degree of difficulty. The SAGs are usually a very good predictor of Oscar so, for sure, Rami at this point should probably be considered a lock for a nomination. Alongside the other lock, Bradley Cooper.
Now you know why Coop is throwing down the campaign promise to perform “Shallow” at the Oscars with Lady Gaga. Rami is putting the heat on behind him. Behind him because Coop, in my opinion, is still the frontrunner. Even if the Screen Actors favour Rami’s performance, at the same time, they’d also narcissistically relate to Bradley Cooper’s story in A Star is Born - the pressure of fame, the creative vs commercial impulse, the struggle to maintain authenticity and identify; this is the story they flatter themselves with every day, all the time. ASIB is the Hollywood story. A story as old as time. A story made for the Oscars. And don’t forget Coop’s reputation among the actors and in the industry. He has a lot of powerful allies in the Academy. He’s a Warner Bros boy. He may be able to count on the support of the other WB boys - Affleck, DiCaprio, and definitely Clint Eastwood. For sure Bradley is getting Clint’s vote. He’ll get Sean Penn’s vote too. And Robert De Niro’s vote too. If we’re playing the “due game”, between Bradley and Rami, Bradley, on perception, has it over Rami, who would be coming in to the Oscars on his first nomination.
So Rami has to campaign. Will he campaign? I hope so. He should. I want to see what that looks like. What the strategy will be. It’s more fun when no one runs away with it. And it really doesn’t look like anyone wants Bradley Cooper to run away with it either.
Here’s Rami out shopping with Lucy Boynton yesterday in Beverly Hills.