The film recounting Elton John’s life was more factually accurate than “Bohemian Rhapsody,” yet fared worse in award show nominations.
Earlier this week, the nominations for the upcoming Oscars released to quite a bit of controversy. The film “Rocketman” only received a single nomination; the biopic was nominated for Best Original Song. “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” was co-written by both Elton John and Bernie Taupin.
Despite winning a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, Taron Egerton (who plays John in “Rocketman”) did not receive an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
The film was also nominated for Best Picture: Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes, “Rocketman” also did not receive a comparable nomination at the Oscars.
During the 2019 Oscar’s, “Bohemian Rhapsody” came out on top, receiving the award for Best Actor and a nomination for Best Picture. The film also won three Oscars for sound mixing, sound editing and film editing.
These two films share quite a few things in common with one another. Dexter Fletcher directed both “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Rocketman.” They are also centered on two of the biggest music icons to exist, Queen and Elton John. The main characters also happen to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Despite these apparent similarities, though, “Rocketman” distinguished itself with a level of factual accuracy that was completely lost in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” As someone who has read multiple biographies over Freddie Mercury, including Jim Hutton’s (Freddie Mercury’s significant other) autobiography, I would estimate that only 40 percent of the film is factual.
One of the biggest examples of the inaccuracies shown in the film is Freddie Mercury’s diagnosis of AIDs. In the film, he is diagnosed in 1985, just weeks before the band’s Live Aid performance. However, in reality, he was diagnosed in 1987. The film monstrously uses his AIDs diagnosis as a plot point.
Another historical inaccuracy portrayed in the film is Freddie Mercury and Jim Hutton’s relationship. According to Jim Hutton’s autobiography, he and Mercury met in 1983. In the film, they meet in 1985. There is a scene in the film where Mercury shows up to Hutton’s apartment, out of the blue, and invites him to the Live Aid performance. In reality, they had already been together for almost two years.
“Rocketman,” on the other hand, is based almost completely off of Elton John’s autobiography. The only difference is that it contains fantasy aspects that align it with the musical genre of the film. For example, in a scene, John is seen levitating in the air while playing the piano. Another example is that the characters randomly break out in song and choreography. Of course, these elements are fictional, but the content of the film is historically factual according to Elton John’s autobiography, “Me.”
Another difference between the two films is that in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Rami Malek does not sing in the film. However, in “Rocketman,” Taron Egerton sings all 22 songs in the film. Both men are extraordinary actors in their craft, there is no denying that, but I just think Egerton deserves more praise from the Academy for his role since he took on the challenge of singing as Elton John.
Perhaps, the biggest reason why “Rocketman” did not receive any nominations is because Hollywood only wants to honor those who are deceased rather than those who are still alive today. It’s wonderful to memorialize those that have been lost, but at the same time, let’s not wait until those who are still alive today have passed away. We should honor those that are still alive so they can feel the gratitude from those who admire them.