The Academy Award nomination of the small-budget Christian movie Alone Yet Not Alone for best song was rescinded. The composer of the music, a former member of the Board of Governors, was said to have improperly promoted the song by e-mailing the current board about it.
That the Academy is taking back the nomination because of this seems strange, given the elaborate and costly promotional campaigns that studios currently wage to win votes. I wonder if this is the whole story. Once word got out about the evangelical nature of the movie, could that have sabotaged it with the Academy? The nomination was widely criticized in Hollywood circles not for the song but because the film had been praised by Christians characterized as being “anti-gay.”
The Academy’s board of governors voted to rescind the original song nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone,” music by Bruce Broughton and lyric by Dennis Spiegel. An additional nominee in the category will not be named.
The decision was prompted by the discovery that Broughton, a former governor and current music branch executive committee member, had emailed members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period.
The song is performed by quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada. With limited lung capacity due to her disability, Tada, who is also an Evangelical minister, had her husband, Ken, pushing on her diaphragm while she recorded the Oscar-nominated song to give her enough breath to hit the high notes.“I’m devastated,” Broughton told Variety. “I indulged in the simplest, lamest, grass-roots campaign and it went against me when the song started getting attention. I got taken down by competition that had months of promotion and advertising behind them.” . . .
In a statement about the withdrawal of the “Alone” song nomination, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said, “No matter how well-intentioned the communication, using one’s position as a former governor and current executive committee member to personally promote one’s own Oscar submission creates the appearance of an unfair advantage.”
The board determined that Broughton’s actions were inconsistent with the Academy’s promotional regulations, which provide, among other terms, that “it is the Academy’s goal to ensure that the Awards competition is conducted in a fair and ethical manner. If any campaign activity is determined by the Board of Governors to work in opposition to that goal, whether or not anticipated by these regulations, the Board of Governors may take any corrective actions or assess any penalties that in its discretion it deems necessary to protect the reputation and integrity of the awards process.”