In an extremely rare and cringe-worthy move, the Academy has revoked a Best Original Song nomination after accusations of improper campaigning.
The song “Alone Yet Not Alone,” music by Bruce Broughton and lyric by Dennis Spiegel, was a surprise nomination for the little-seen film of the same name — beating out more likely nominees such as Taylor Swift or Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” on “The Great Gatsby” soundtrack.
“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,” reports Variety.
But Broughton insists he has done nothing wrong.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly after the nominations, Broughton was open with the fact that he urged the members of his branch to simply consider the song.
“What happens is that the music branch of the Academy puts all the songs on a disc and I was concerned that this song would be really easy to overlook. So, yeah, I wrote some people and said, ‘Could you just take a look.’ That was literally the extent of the campaigning,” Broughton admitted before the current controversy. “I received in the mail songs from other films that were pressed and recorded CDs. We didn’t do anything like that at all.”
But that didn’t stop the Academy from voting to rescind Broughton’s nomination, making it one of the few times in history this has happened.
While campaigning happens all the time in the Oscars race, the Academy argued that it was unethical for Broughton to do so as an officer in the organisation.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement, “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.”
Broughton has responded by saying “I’m devastated. 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.”
Broughton and lyricist Dennis Spiegel are out of the running completely and a new nominee will not be added.
Instead, the category will only have four honorees this year:
1. “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 (Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams)
2. “Let It Go” from Frozen (Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez)
3. “The Moon Song” from Her (Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze)
4. “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (Music by U2)
But Broughton and Spiegel aren’t the only ones hurt by the Oscar exclusion, as it is also a blow to the song’s quadriplegic singer, 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,” adds Variety.
Watch the group recording the once-Oscar nominated song below:
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