On Feb. 24, winners will be crowned at the 91st Academy Awards. But before the red carpet is rolled out and envelopes are opened, Entertainment Weekly has inside intel on the 2019 nominees. Keep checking back at EW.com this week for spotlights on contenders in all the major categories.
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Total nominations: 5
Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee
Producer Graham King knew the only way he could make a Queen biopic was to get the blessing of the band itself (specifically, members Brian May and Roger Taylor). “We hit it off extremely well, and I think they respected the film side,” King tells EW, about informing the rockers of the project — before asking them for permission to use their music. “It was a huge moment for me in my life to meet with them.”
That moment has now translated into five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor (for Rami Malek’s take on frontman Freddie Mercury). In a statement reacting to the nominations, King gave a “heartfelt thank you to the Academy for recognizing a film that has been a true collaboration from a team with a specific vision and determination to honor Freddie Mercury and Queen.” He also added that he was “extraordinarily proud of all of the nominations and the entire Bohemian Rhapsody team. It has taken nearly a decade to bring this project to the screen, so to see the world celebrate this film is incredibly thrilling.”
As King noted, Rhapsody has faced multiple delays and production issues since it was first rumored more than a decade ago, including the alleged firing of director Bryan Singer more than halfway into production. Though Singer’s exit from the project was unforeseen, King chalks up the early pre-production snags due to his and screenwriters Peter Morgan and Anthony McCarten’s desire to depict the strongest story they could about a legendary group and its lead singer. “It was a challenging task to take someone’s life and form that into a two-hour and 15-minute film,” says the veteran producer. “I think we’ve made the best version of a Queen story.”