Brian May Hated the ‘Vitriol and Dishonesty’ Surrounding Oscars
Queen guitarist Brian May said he was shocked into silence by the media's behavior during Oscars season, and said that “vitriol and dishonesty” had left him saddened, even after Bohemian Rhapsody’s success at the awards ceremony last month.
The biggest-grossing music biopic of all time won four Academy Awards after Queen and Adam Lambert had opened the show last month – but afterward, May found himself unable to explain how he had felt in the preceding months.
“You saw I went very quiet after the Oscars were over,” he said in an Instagram post. “What really happened? We opened the Academy Awards show in a way it’s never been opened before, in an avalanche of excitement, looking out on an instant standing ovation from a glittering audience containing many of our heroes, all beaming and singing with us and punching the air. We then, shockingly, walked away with four Oscars – the top haul of the night.”
He added that the head of local production had congratulated him for the “best opening” in his 40-year Oscars career. “A lovely moment," he continued. "So – everyone assumes that we would then all go forth, deliriously partying with not a care in the world. But I guess I’m not that kind of animal. I was, and I am, deeply grateful for our Freddie film being recognized in a way we never had the audacity to expect. But I found the public activity behind the whole awards season, and the behavior of the media writers surrounding it, deeply disturbing.”
May argued that the vast majority of press and online discussions leading up to the Oscars was “aimed at discrediting one or other, or all of the nominated films by innuendo and smears, rather than discussing their merits and admiring the skills that went into making them.”
He added that "vitriol and dishonesty, and blatant attempts to shame and influence the members into voting the way they, in their arrogance required them to. It’s not the fault of the awards panels – they stood up well. It’s a kind of vindictive sickness that seems to have gripped public life.”
His silence, he explained, had been a desire to avoid influencing the awards results “even by a hair.” After the events were concluded, he was left “with very mixed feelings,” until he found a Spectator article that he said expressed his position accurately.
In that piece, titled “Bohemian Rhapsody’s Oscars Win Is a Triumph Over Snobby Film Critics,” author Toby Young criticized critics for apparently willfully ignoring the movie’s positives. He wrote that the main two reasons were that the members of Queen had come from relatively successful social backgrounds, which went against critics’ desire for rags-to-riches stories, and that the depiction of Freddie Mercury’s sexuality hadn’t followed the established politically correct format.
“Now I don’t have to explain,” May finished. “It’s all here.”