"It’s a kind of vindictive sickness that seems to have gripped public life."
Despite receiving mixed reviews upon release in October 2018, the film went on to become the highest grossing musical biopic of all time. It also won four Oscars last month – including a Best Actor victory for Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury.
Posting on Instagram, May shared a piece from The Spectator that defended the film and explained how the film’s awards triumph was a major victory over its detractors.
“Well, yes. You saw I went very quiet after the Oscars were over, signalling the end of the whole movie awards season,” wrote May on Instagram. “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 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.”
Hitting out at the “disturbing” behaviour of critics, May said: “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.
“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. “
Meanwhile, it was announced last week that Bohemian Rhapsody will finally secure a release in China – without any homosexual content.