Score another improvement as the Motion Picture Academy struggles into a new generation. Today they pulled that weird nomination for a song no one ever heard from a movie no one knew existed.
The song, called “Alone Yet Not Alone,” came from the movie of the same name. But no one ever heard of either of then because the film was never released. It was “four -walled,” i.e. the producers paid to play the film in a small L.A. indie movie house for an Oscar qualifying week. They took no ads, which is required by the Academy rules. The theater simply published its name and schedule– one performance a day, late at night.
It turns out the culprit is composer Bruce Broughton, who wrote the song and is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Music Branch. He emailed members of the branch asking them to vote for him.
The result is that there are now only four nominees. A real fifth nominee has been cheated out of a spot because of this mini scandal. Too bad. There were a lot of good songs that deserved a nomination, from people like Diane Warren and Kings of Leon and Lenny Kravitz.
Here’s the press release. I do give high marks to Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Dawn Hudson for having the guts to rescind the nomination.
On Tuesday night, the Academy’s Board of Governors voted to rescind the Original Song nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone,” music by Bruce Broughton and lyric by Dennis Spiegel. 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.
“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.
The Board determined that Broughton’s actions were inconsistent with the Academy’s promotional regulations, which provide, among other terms, that “it is the Academy’s goal to ensure that the Awards competition is conducted in a fair and ethical manner. If any campaign activity is determined by the Board of Governors to work in opposition to that goal, whether or not anticipated by these regulations, the Board of Governors may take any corrective actions or assess any penalties that in its discretion it deems necessary to protect the reputation and integrity of the awards process.”
An additional nominee in the Original Song category will not be named. The remaining nominees in the category are:
“Happy” from “Despicable Me 2”
Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams
“Let It Go” from “Frozen”
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
The members from each of the Academy’s branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories – actors nominate actors, film editors nominate film editors, musicians and composers nominate song and score.
During the nominations process, all 240 voting members of the Music Branch received a Reminder List of works submitted in the Original Song category and a DVD copy of the song clips with film and song title only (additional information including composer and lyricist is not provided). Members were asked to watch the clips and then vote in the order of their preference for not more than five nominees in the category. A maximum of two songs may be nominated from any one film.