If you’re someone that follows quote-unquote Film Twitter, you are probably aware of the outrage that came up after editor John Ottman won an Oscar for his work on “Bohemian Rhapsody.” And no, the outrage wasn’t over the behind-the-scenes troubles that plagued the Oscar-winning film. No, film fans were upset that Ottman won because his work was seen as woefully inadequate.
Here’s the tweet that started it all:
People, actual fucking people, are watching scene after scene like this and are saying "bruuuh! best. movie. of. the. year"?
This is objectively bad. Someone with no idea about editing will notice it. My brain is on fire thinking that this is an OSCAR NOMINATED MOVIE! FUCK! pic.twitter.com/QVDCxe2iaf
— Pramit Chatterjee ???? (@pramitheus) January 26, 2019
From there, the scene was shared thousands of times, sparking all sorts of debate over why Ottman won the award. With the amount of quick, whiplash-inducing cuts, even the most novice of film fans knew that there was something wrong with the editing.
Well, speaking to the Washington Post, Ottman finally explained the cause of that scenes wonky editing and he reacts to the memes that have sprung up in the wake of his Oscar win.
“Oh, my God! Wow,” he said. “I didn’t know about that, but I know why that’s out there.”
Ottman goes on to explain that the scene in question, outside a pub where the band meets a record executive, came about during the hectic reshoots with filmmaker Dexter Fletcher. Most of what Fletcher added were the personal bits from Freddie Mercury’s life, as well as the origins of “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites the Dust.”
Due to those scenes being added, the original meeting scene didn’t make sense. So, Fletcher had to reshoot a new scene, which is the one we all have seen being made fun of relentlessly. But the reason for all the quick cuts is due to the fact that the scene was originally much shorter, as Ottman was told to keep the pace swift through the first act. However, when test audiences were reportedly aching for more of the Queen’s early days, the editor went back and added more to that scene. Thus, all the weird cuts.
“Whenever I see it, I want to put a bag over my head. Because that’s not my aesthetic,” he said. “If there’s ever an extended version of the film where I can put a couple scenes back, I will recut that scene!”
With the film going on to make over $876 million at the box office, perhaps Ottman will get the chance to go back and fix the film. Until then, he just has to endure the mocking. Such is life with social media.