Christian song's Oscar nomination withdrawn
The Oscar dream for Christian song 'Alone Yet Not Alone' is over. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has rescinded its nomination.
'Alone Yet Not Alone', from the film of the same name, was a surprise inclusion in the five-strong short list for Best Original Song announced by the Academy on 16 January.
The song was sung by disabled evangelical Christian author and activist Joni Eareckson Tada.
Despite only having a seven day limited release in September 2013 (with a larger release planned for June 2014), the song received its nomination ahead of works by Coldplay, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, Lana Del Rey and Jay Z.
However, the Academy's Board of Governors said that various emails and phone calls to Academy members from the song's composer, Bruce Broughton, was "inconsistent with the Academy's promotional regulations".
Mr Broughton is a former Academy Governor and current member of its music branch executive committee.
"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.
Mr Broughton told the journal Variety: "I'm devastated... I indulged in the simplest, lamest, grass-roots campaign."
In a Facebook statement quoted by Hitfix.com, Mr Broughton said 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."
Taking heart, though, he pointed out that "we learned this morning that the song will appear on Billboard's charts shortly. Somebody's listening to it. Somebody likes it."
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His wife, Belinda Broughton, also took to Facebook to vent her feelings: "These poor huge production companies who had their noses put out of joint by a little song. All I can say is, they must have been terrified by the song..."
Pointing to her husband's 30-year record, she continued: "[He] has tirelessly fought for composers, is the only top composer I know who will generously lend out his scores to composers, spends hours having lunches giving advice to up-and-coming film composers.
"Well, they are happy now, they can play together in the same sand box again. Shame on you Motion Picture Academy for taking the low road, saving your own butts and doing this to one of your former Governors and Head of the Music Branch."
The film is a Christian-themed historical drama set in 1755 against the backdrop of the French and Indian War. The protagonists are two sisters who are kidnapped and subsequently separated, leaving them clinging to their faith in search of survival. The song is the family hymn they sing to remain hopeful.
Mrs Tada, who had not anticipated anything like the acclaim that the nomination brought, said: "While I can only imagine the disappointment of music writer Bruce Broughton and lyricist Dennis Spiegel in the rescinding of their Oscar nomination, it in no way detracts from either the song's beauty or its message.
"I was grateful for the attention the nomination brought to this worthy song and the inspirational film behind it.
"The decision by the Academy to rescind the nomination may well bring even further attention, and I only hope it helps to further extend the message and impact of the song."
Mrs Tada declined to comment on the reasons behind the nomination's withdrawal, saying: "It is not my place to speculate as I have no insights into the workings of the entertainment industry.
"I was honoured to be invited to sing the song and it will always be a treasured experience."