Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Oscars: Decision to Rescind Best Song Nomination Based on Broken Rules, Nothing Else

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I’m so glad the Motion Picture Academy just sent out this statement about their decision to rescind the Best Song nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone.” It had nothing to with whether it came from a Christian movie. It was all about the composer breaking the in house rules– rules he knew very well.The Academy would consider any kind of song. But the composer in this case sent out an email to voting members identifying himself. You’re not supposed to do that. The songs are supposed to be considered on their own merit, not on whether you know the songwriter. He blew it. Otherwise, “Alone” might have made the cut without issue if people liked it enough. Now, he’s alone.

Here’s the statement:

The Board of Governors’ decision to rescind the Original Song nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone,” music by Bruce Broughton, was made thoughtfully and after careful consideration.  The Academy takes very seriously anything that undermines the integrity of the Oscars® voting process. The Board regretfully concluded that Mr. Broughton’s actions did precisely that.

The nominating process for Original Song is intended to be anonymous, with each eligible song listed only by title and the name of the film in which it is used—the idea being to prevent favoritism and promote unbiased voting.  It’s been a long-standing policy and practice of the Academy—as well as a requirement of Rule 5.3 of the 86th Academy Awards® Rules—­­to omit composer and lyricist credits from the DVD of eligible songs that are sent to members of the Music Branch.  The Academy wants members to vote for nominees based solely on the achievement of a particular song in a movie, without regard to who may have written it.

Mr. Broughton sent an email to at least 70 of his fellow Music Branch members—nearly one-third of the branch’s 240 members.  When he identified the song as track #57 as one he had composed, and asked voting branch members to listen to it, he took advantage of information that few other potential nominees are privy to.  As a former Academy Governor and current member of the Music Branch’s executive committee, Mr. Broughton should have been more cautious about acting in a way that made it appear as if he were taking advantage of his position to exert undue influence. At a minimum, his actions called into question whether the process was “fair and equitable,” as the Academy’s rules require. The Academy is dedicated to doing everything it can to ensure a level playing field for all potential Oscar® contenders—including those who don’t enjoy the access, knowledge, and influence of a long-standing Academy insider.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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