Taron Egerton Can’t Feel the Love Tonight From the Academy for ‘Rocketman’, Despite Winning Best Actor at Golden Globes
Another awards show season, another slew of snubs. Despite winning Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy at this year’s Golden Globes, Taron Egerton wasn’t able to gain an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Elton John in Rocketman. Considering that Rami Malek won an Oscar last year for playing iconic singer Freddie Mercury, it seemed to be a given that Egerton would score not only a nomination but perhaps a win as well.
As one of the most underrated films of 2019, Rocketman is essentially the antithesis of rote and formulaic biopics like Bohemian Rhapsody. Whereas Malek essentially won his Oscar for putting in some fake teeth and doing an impression of Freddie Mercury, Egerton was able to craft a genuinely compelling performance that made you believe that he is Elton John. So why exactly did Rocketman fail to get the recognition that it deserved, while Bohemian Rhapsody seemingly got all of the love the previous year? Well, the answer is probably more simple than one might think.
Ironically enough, Egerton’s problems getting nominated aren’t a result of his acting ability, but rather the content of the film itself. A large part of the reason why Bohemian Rhapsody seems to have faired better with Academy voters is that it’s the sanitized version of the Freddie Mercury story. For a movie that largely focuses on perhaps the greatest gay singer of all time (directed by a gay man nevertheless, but we won’t open Pandora’s box on that), Bohemian Rhapsody pretty much sidelines Mercury’s sexuality in favor of being an extremely rote and cliché-filled musical biopic. In other words, it’s everything that Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story brilliantly parodied over a decade ago.
On the other hand, Rocketman delves deeply into the personal life and sexuality of John, offering an intimate and personal portrait of one of the world’s best musicians. While the film is certainly about celebrating the music of Elton John, it’s also a musical in the truest sense of the word. It’s a big swing for a biopic to make, one that ends up making Taron’s portrayal of John so distinct and unique. In other words, Egerton isn’t as interested in copying every one of John’s mannerisms (although he does a great job of it) as he is in discovering the emotional truth of the man, the myth, and the legend.
What makes the choice not to nominate Egerton for the role even more infuriating is that he actually sang in the movie as well as learned to play the piano for the part. Malek, on the other hand, merely lip-synched for his performance. As one of the people who campaigned the hardest during this awards season, it’s honestly a shame that Egerton wasn’t even nominated – not because of newcomer bias (Florence Pugh proved this to be untrue) or because of his past failings bombs such as Robin Hood – but because Rami Malek simply won last year.
Especially in recent years, the politics of the Oscars have become increasingly transparent, something that surely isn’t going to stop. While there’s nothing we can do now to rectify the fact that Egerton failed to score a nomination and Malek somehow managed to win, we all know deep down which is the better and more interesting movie. With that in mind, here are some GIFs from Rocketman to not only ease your woes but to remind you how great the movie actually is.
Cover Photo: Paramount Pictures
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