Quadriplegic Christian author and singer Joni Eareckson Tada may not take the grand stage at the Oscars next month to perform the now-disqualified song "Alone Yet Not Alone," but her rendition at the 22nd Annual MOVIEGUIDE Faith & Values Awards Gala made a profound impact for those in attendance.
The film "Alone Yet Not Alone" has made headlines the past months under controversial circumstances, but for the Gala that took place Friday, February 7, at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, it was finally surrounded by a positive reception. The song's message of God's underlying love was well-received after weeks of negative headlines for the Oscar controversy.
The song garnered controversy when it was announced on January 16 that it was nominated for "Best Original Song." Opposers claimed that its one-week run in a Los Angeles theater was not enough promotion to qualify the song for a nomination. The Academy originally rebuked the claims, stating the song would remain nominated. However, by the end of the month, the Academy disqualified the song due to former Academy governor and songwriter Bruce Broughton promoting the song via email to voters.
Academy president, Cheryl Isaac Booths released a statement after revoking the nomination stating: "...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."
Despite the negativity, at the Movieguide Gala, audiences listened to Eareckson Tada's rendition, which left everyone in utter "silence." The song of God never forsaking one when feeling alone moved the audience and spectators saw "there was hardly a dry eye in the room." The theme of never feeling alone is a personal experience for Eareckson Tada, who suffered a diving accident in her teens and became quadriplegic. She has since used her disability to express triumph through the storms and God's love throughout it all.
Following the heart-rending performance, Eareckson Tada was given a "standing ovation, and among those cheering her on were the composers of the song, music writer [Broughton] and lyricist Dennis Spiegel."
Overall, the ceremony was a success. The MOVIEGUIDE Faith & Values Awards Gala is an equivalent to the Academy Awards but honors media that teach values in faith and family with an undertone message of the love for Christ.
Founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE, Dr. Ted Baehr considered 2013 a success for films with positive messages of faith and family values. Aside from the exposure of Christian films such as "Alone Yet Not Alone," films with these family values dominated in the box office.
"This was abundantly true in 2013," said Dr. Baehr at the ceremony. "For the first time ever, 90% of the Top 10 Movies in the United States and overseas were MOVIEGUIDE® Award winners, from "Iron Man 3" and "Despicable Me 2" to "Frozen," "Gravity," and MAN OF STEEL. Also, two-thirds of the Top 10, 60 percent, had overt references to Jesus Christ."
Despite the song being revoked from its Oscar nomination, Eareckson Tada remained positive about the controversy. "No matter the tragedies in life, God has promised to never leave us or forsake us."