The Academy discovers that Bruce Broughton, the current Oscars Music Branch executive, contacted members of the branch to make them aware of his submission.
The Academy has decided to rescind Best Original Song nomination for "Alone Yet Not Alone". The song composed by Bruce Broughton with lyric by Dennis Spiegel will no longer appear on the Oscar ballots received by members of the music branch when the final round of voting begins on February 14 this year.
The decision was made after the Oscars board of governors found out there was improper lobbying for the film. 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," Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy President explained in a press release.
"Alone Yet Not Alone", a little-heard song from a little-seen Christian movie of the same title, drew strong reactions when the Oscars nominations were first announced. The singer Joni Eareckson Tada denied to The Hollywood Reporter allegations of backroom dealings and insisted no one "pushed their influence."
However, in a recent interview with Studio System News, Broughton let it slip that he did some lobbying. "Our release had been very limited. It doesn't go wide until the middle of this year, so the chance of it being overlooked was pretty high because a lot of high profile movies from major studios are in competition," he reasoned.
"I knew people wouldn't know what the film was," the musician added. "So, I wrote a letter to people that I personally knew and thought were a member of the branch to ask them to look for the song, to be aware that there's a song there. I didn't ask for anyone to vote for it, I just didn't want the song to be bypassed."
Broughton was "devastated" after the disqualification was announced. Talking to Variety, he said, "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."
The move to remove Oscar nomination is rare but not unheard of in the history of the prestigious movie awards. According to Variety, Nino Rota's nomination for the score from 1972's "The Godfather" was once disqualified after the Academy found out that key portions had actually been used in an earlier film.
Louis L'Amour's nomination for 1953's "Hondo" was also dropped after it's discovered that the film was based on a short story, a fact not represented in the credits. The Oscar win for 1968 documentary feature presented to "Young Americans" was revoked after it was revealed that the film had debuted in 1967.
This year, the Academy decides not to add new nominee for Best Original Song after removing "Alone Yet Not Alone" from the list. The remaining contenders in the category are as follows:
- "Happy" from "Despicable Me 2" music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams
- "Let It Go" from "Frozen (2013)" 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