The Los Angeles Times reported that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has revoked the Oscar nomination for best original song for the piece titled “Alone But Not Alone,” sung by Joni Eareckson Tada and featured in the faith-based film of the same name.
Academy officials cite direct campaigning that created “the appearance of an unfair advantage” by Bruce Broughton, an Academy music branch executive committee member who was also one of the song’s composers. Apparently he emailed the members of the branch making them aware of the song’s nomination during the voting period, which is a violation of Academy regulations. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs explained, “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.”
According to a Reuters explanation, DVDs of the original song and score nominees are sent to the members of the music branch without the names of the composers or lyricists.
Broughton said in a statement that he was “devastated” by the move. “I indulged in the simplest 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. I simply asked people to find the song and consider it,” the musician said.
The Hollywood Reporter wrote this week that petitions have been developed and distributed among Academy members asking that the song be reinstated. Part of the petition reads, “Alone Yet Not Alone was eligible by all of AMPAS applicable rules and regulations. Any personal correspondence some of us may have received from the artists involved was miniscule in comparison to the deluge of email, print and recorded promotion that we received from every studio production for every possible nomination.” Other petitions at Change.org and iPetitions.com have been developed.
Oscar winner John Debney (The Passion of the Christ) expressed his dismay over the Academy’s behavior. On his Facebook page, Debney wrote, “As a member of the Academy, I’m ashamed by this act. The nominations for work in film are meant to be merit based. Finally, a song from a small film barely seen, was deemed worthy of nomination. That is the way it should work. But alas, the winds of PC and cronyism seem to be at work here. Please join those of us who feel that great work should be judged on its own merits and express your outrage over this travesty.”
Producer of Schindler’s List Gerald Molen even penned a letter to Boone Isaacs, accusing the Academy of discrimination and “faith-based bigotry.”
“If we were truly to operate by this new standard the committee has cited,” wrote Molen, “your office would be filled with returned Oscars from past winners and nominees who have lobbied their friends and colleagues. This seems to me to have been a normal practice for a long, long time, and yet the Academy has suddenly discovered lobbying in the case of this one song?”
No other song will be nominated in its place.