The sound and editing teams behind “Bohemian Rhapsody” — backstage Sunday evening holding their Oscar statuettes — talked about the collaborative effort required to bring the film’s powerful concert scenes to life.
John Warhurst and Nina Harstone won for sound editing on the film, which includes a re-creation of Queen’s performance at the 1985 Live Aid benefit concert at Wembley Stadium.
That scene used both original concert recordings and new sound to tell the story of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.
“We had to keep the spirit of Queen in the film and it had also to be the Queen that everybody knows,” Warhurst said.
At the same time, the sound needed to be high enough quality for modern Dolby Atmos sound technology.
Surviving band members Brian May and Roger Taylor — who kicked off the Oscar telecast with a live performance of “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” — were integral to the authenticity of the film, according to Paul Massey, who was on the winning sound mixing team with Tim Cavagin and John Casali.
Massey said May and Taylor were “so collaborative, to be honest. They completely allowed us into their family.” That included full access to their archives and all their live material and an “open door, at all times,” he told reporters.
“We learned so much about Freddy that’s not in the film, as well,” Massey said.
It was “such a joy to be part of that team,” he added. “I think we all wish it hadn’t finished.”
Harstone, who Warhurst said was the first European woman to be nominated in the category, said she learned her craft at Pinewood Studios outside London and discovered early on that the magic of filmmaking requires a lot of work.
“You have to work very hard to get on,” Harstone said. She said she would tell others aspiring to succeed in the craft to “just try and learn as much as you can as you’re coming up through the industry so that … you can be useful.”
John Ottman, who won the film editing Oscar, said he was overcome with emotion when he heard his name called and then circled up with his fellow editors.
“We all just believed in the film. We believed in each other,” Ottman said.
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