Queen's Brian May slams “vindictive sickness” of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' critics

7 March 2019, 15:38

By Tom Eames

When Bohemian Rhapsody was first released, critics were surprisingly pretty harsh and negative about the film.

Despite this, the Freddie Mercury biopic went on to become one of the year's biggest movies, grossing over $800 million at the worldwide box office, and winning many awards including four Oscars.

Queen legend Brian May has now hit out at the “vindictive sickness” of critics, after Bohemian Rhapsody defied its critical mauling.

Posting on Instagram, May shared a piece from The Spectator that defended the film, explaining how its awards success was a big victory over its critics.

“Well, yes. You saw I went very quiet after the Oscars were over, signalling the end of the whole movie awards season,” May wrote.

“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.”

He continued: “We then, shockingly, walked away with 4 Oscars – the top haul of the night. The head of local production came up to me and shook my hand as we left the auditorium. He said ‘I’ve been doing the Oscars for 40 years, and that was the best opening we ever had!’ A lovely moment.

“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 recognised in a way we never had the audacity to expect.”

Lashing out at the “disturbing” behaviour of critics, May added: “I found the public activity behind the whole awards season, and the behaviour of the media writers surrounding it, deeply disturbing.

"If you look at the Press and Internet discussions that took place over the last few months, you can see that 90% of it is 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.

Brian May and Rami Malek
Brian May and Rami Malek. Picture: Getty

“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. All through it, I’ve been biting my tongue, not wishing to influence the results of the ballots even by a hair. But, when the curtain came down, I was left with very mixed feelings. “

Queen recently announced plans for a new documentary titled The Show Must Go On alongside new frontman Adam Lambert.