"Alone Yet Not Alone," the controversial Best Original Song nominee from the film of the same name, has had its Oscar nomination rescinded, this according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Board of Governors.
The song had come under fire after it was revealed that Bruce Broughton, the composer, was a former Governor himself and former head of the Academy's music branch. According to a report posted by Deadline.com's awards columnist Pete Hammond after the Oscar nominations were announced in January, Broughton "started making phone calls to colleagues urging them to consider the song" when filling out their Oscar ballots.
"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,” Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in the statement announcing the ouster of "Alone Yet Not Alone."
The inclusion of the track was a total surprise in the Best Original Song race. "Alone Yet Not Alone" was barely released last year, with just a seven-day Oscar qualifying run in September. (The film's actual release is scheduled for June of this year.) Despite that, "Alone Yet Not Alone," which is performed by evangelical Christian author and singer Joni Eareckson Tada, wound up scoring an Oscar nod ahead of songs from Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey and Beyonce, among other major artists.
In a statement that reportedly appeared on his Facebook page, Broughton commented on the Academy's decision, noting that he felt like "the butt of a campaign to discredit a song, the nomination of which caught people by surprise."
"As many of you have noted, the campaigning on the other songs is epic compared to my simple email note. The marketing abilities of the other companies before and after the nomination far outstrip anything that this song was able to benefit from," Broughton wrote (via HitFix's In Contention blog). "We learned this morning that the song will appear on Billboard's charts shortly. Somebody's listening to it. Somebody likes it."
The full AMPAS press release regarding "Alone Yet Not Alone" is below. No song will be named as a replacement for it in the Best Original Song category, leaving "Happy" (from "Despicable Me 2"), "Let It Go" (from "Frozen"), "The Moon Song" (from "Her") and "Ordinary Love" (from "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom") as the 2014 nominees.
For more of Broughton's statement, head to HitFix.
On Tuesday night, 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. 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.
"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,” said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy President.
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.”
An additional nominee in the Original Song category will not be named. The remaining nominees in the category are:
“Happy” from “Despicable Me 2” Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams
“Let It Go” from “Frozen” Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
“The Moon Song” from “Her” Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze
“Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson
The members from each of the Academy’s branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories – actors nominate actors, film editors nominate film editors, musicians and composers nominate song and score.
During the nominations process, all 240 voting members of the Music Branch received a Reminder List of works submitted in the Original Song category and a DVD copy of the song clips with film and song title only (additional information including composer and lyricist is not provided). Members were asked to watch the clips and then vote in the order of their preference for not more than five nominees in the category. A maximum of two songs may be nominated from any one film.
Academy Awards® for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar® Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscars, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.