Last year, the Queen biopic BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY proved that there’s a hunger for musical dramas centered around prolific rock outfits from the 1970s and ‘80s. Not only did the Queen movie dominate at the box office (to the tune of more than $900 million worldwide), but it also collected five Oscar nominations — including one for Best Picture — and nabbed four wins.
ROCKETMAN, which opened in theatres last weekend, certainly harbors dreams of following in the spectacular footsteps of its predecessor. Instead of focusing on Queen, Dexter Fletcher’s ROCKETMAN tells the story of Sir Elton John, charting his professional trajectory from child prodigy to award-winning singer/songwriter.
ROCKETMAN is a showcase for the talents of leading man Taron Egerton, who is best known for his role in the KINGSMAN spy series. But when we step back and look at the Oscar chances of ROCKETMAN in next year’s Academy Awards campaign, we have to start with Egerton in the Best Actor category.
Part of this is built off the momentum established by Rami Malek, who actually won last year’s Best Actor trophy for embodying Freddie Mercury in BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. Unlike Malek, Egerton actually does his own singing in ROCKETMAN, instantly elevating beautiful moments in the film, such as the creation of the moving “Your Song” and the rollicking “Crocodile Rock.” Paramount would be very wise to build a Best Actor campaign around Egerton’s performance in ROCKETMAN, because it is top notch.
Another Oscars® category in which ROCKETMAN appears to be a shoe-in is Best Costume Design. Sir Elton John is a known fashion icon, and ROCKETMAN costume designer Julian Day doesn’t shy away from draping Egerton in bold, stylish outfits through every frame of this new movie. It’s estimated that Egerton wears a new and vibrant outfit in every scene in ROCKETMAN, and we could see the Academy recognizing Day’s efforts.
Paramount no doubt would love to see ROCKETMAN contend for all of the top Oscars, including Best Picture and Director. But if we had to put our money on one category where we’ll see the musical competing, it would be the Best Song category. Elton John and Bernie Taupin collaborated on an original song for the ROCKETMAN soundtrack called “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” and John duets on the track with Taron Egerton. The Academy likely would love to have John and Egerton perform the nominated song on the Oscars telecast.
We have a long way to go until the next Oscar field is set, but ROCKETMAN feels like one of those movies that could find its way into contention. See what the buzz is about now that Dexter Fletcher’s musical tribute to the life and accomplishments of Elton John is in AMC theatres.