Relaymedia

Academy Awards Officials Rescind 'Alone Yet Not Alone' Oscar Nomination After Controversy, Debate

( [email protected] ) Jan 30, 2014 02:41 PM EST
Days after announcing its nomination would not be revoked, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has disqualified the song "Alone, Yet Not Alone" from the Best Original Song category for "electoral impropriety."
A scene from the faith-based film “Alone Yet Not Alone.” (Alone Yet Not Alone)

Days after announcing its nomination would not be revoked, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has disqualified the song "Alone, Yet Not Alone" from the Best Original Song category for "electoral impropriety."

This is only the sixth time in Oscar history a nomination has been revoked.

Officials say the song's composer, Bruce Broughton, abused his position within the Academy to secure votes for the song, which had raised eyebrows with its nomination earlier this month.

Bruce Broughton, previously served as head of the Academy's music branch and is currently a member of its executive committee. He admits to sending emails to voting members of music branch, encouraging them to consider the song, but says he did nothing wrong.

"What happens is that the music branch of the Academy puts all the songs on a disc, and I was concerned this song would be really easy to overlook," he told Entertainment Weekly. "So, yeah, I wrote some people and said, 'Could you just take a look?' That was literally the extent of the campaigning."

While no specific rule was broken, the Oscar's Board of Governors said Broughton's actions violated the Academy's goal of ensuring a fair and ethnical competition.

Academy president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, supports the board.

"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," she said in a statement.

Broughton is calling the disqualification unfair.

"I'm devastated," he said in a released statement. "I indulged in the simplest grass-roots campaign and it went against me when the song started getting attention. I got taken down by the competition that has months of promotion and advertising behind them. I simply asked people to find the song and consider it."

"Alone, Yet Not Alone," written for a religious drama of the same title, has been the topic of debate since Academy Award nominations were announced on Jan. 16.

Performed by evangelical Christian singer Joni Eareckson Tada, the song was not widely known before its nomination. Tada, who is a quadriplegic, also runs Joni and Friends, an international ministry for those with disabilities.

When the song was nominated for an Oscar, Tada told reporters she was just as surprised as everyone else.

"... I was absolutely amazed. I mean, it's not too often that a family-friendly, Christian-themed film is up for an Oscar in any category," she said in an interview with World. "I was just so thankful to God that it's receiving so much interest from the press."

She said she saw her performance as an opportunity to show God's power,

"God seems to delight in taking the ill-equipped, untrained, unskilled, and unprofessional and placing them to do a job so that the whole world would know that God is God," she said.

The Academy is not replacing "Alone, Yet Not Alone" in the Best Original Song competition, leaving only four songs in the category: "Happy" from Despicable Me 2, "Let It Go" from Frozen, "The Moon Song" from Her and "Ordinary Love" from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

The Oscars air Sunday, March 2 on ABC.