Last night was a big one for what’s already the biggest rock music biopic of all time, Bohemian Rhapsody. The film took home the Golden Globe for Best Picture, Drama and star Rami Malek won Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama for his portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Yet despite the fact that none of the glow from the accolades shined on him, problematic director Bryan Singer is still celebrating the wins.
Singer, who was infamously fired from the production with just over two weeks left of filming, posted an Instagram message acknowledging the Best Picture win. “What an honor,” he wrote. “Thank you #HollywoodForeignPress.” The accompanying image featured a behind-the-scenes look at the movie’s version of the “I Want to Break Free” video, with Singer in the foreground in a clearly marked director’s chair — a not-so-subtle reminder that he still retains full directing credits on the movie.
The X-Men director lost the Bohemian Rhapsody job in December of 2017 after reports arose that he had failed to return to set following Thanksgiving and often made unexplained disappearances. There were also murmurs that he’d been troublesome to work with, arriving late and fighting with Malek. Singer himself claimed that he’d requested time away from work to look after an ailing parent, but up against a deadline, the studio chose to replace him with Rocketman helmer Dexter Fletcher.
On top of this, new sexual assault allegations were made public just days after his dismissal from the movie, leading many to believe there was more behind his removal than on-set impropriety. Cesar Sanchez-Guzman had filed suit against Singer, claiming the director raped him on a yacht in 2003, when the plaintiff was just 17.
Despite all of this, Directors Guild of America rules stipulated that Singer retain directing credits on Bohemian Rhapsody, and Fletcher refused any such crediting for himself. Even with his name on the picture, though, none of the cast or crew were willing to acknowledge him during Sunday night’s awards show. Neither Malek nor producer Graham King, who accepted the Best Picture trophy, mentioned Singer in their acceptance speeches.
The crew also demurred any mention of Singer’s involvement in backstage interviews. When one reporter asked, “How big of a hurdle was Bryan Singer’s departure and do you share the award with him tonight?” King replied by saying, “Not something I really should talk about tonight.” However, Queen guitarist Brian May leaned in and added, “It’s a good question, though. I’ll follow Graham’s lead.”
The next interviewer continued to press, but Malek stepped forward to shift the praise to Mercury. “There’s only one thing we needed to do and that was to celebrate Freddie Mercury in this film,” he said. “He is a marvel. There is only one Freddie Mercury and nothing was going to compromise us giving him the love, celebration and adulation he deserves.”
“I’m just gonna add that every single person that worked on this film collaborated and did it out of the passion of making this story,” Graham chimed in, emphasizing, “That was everybody.”
Watch the entire backstage interview, including the team’s response to critics and Malek’s visible reaction to the Singer questions, below.