Let's get this out of the way if you didn't know it already: the Academy Awards are a popularity contest, just like any election. If you're nominated in a category, it's likely because millions of dollars were spent getting the word out. There are exceptions, of course, but just like with politics, it's not necessarily the best candidate, but the best campaign that wins. With that said, the Academy has now done something that may be unprecedented: they've taken back a nomination.
Before we go further, if you haven't heard the song from the film Alone Yet Not Alone, here it is:
And here is the word from Indiewire:
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.
If you're interested in how it got nominated in the first place:
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.
The Academy is trying to save face for a nomination that has received a lot of negative attention. They've got some cryptic wording about the decision and what constitutes improper behavior when promoting a film, but if we're being honest about what happens in Hollywood, there is no doubt that campaigns have done more things to actually gain an "unfair advantage."
Regardless of the artistic merit of Alone Yet Not Alone, the film wasn't seen by anyone when it arrived in theaters for a few weeks, received no mention in major media outlets, and didn't win any other awards. If the Oscars are supposed to be the best of the best in Hollywood, a film coming from nowhere with a relatively small budget of $7 million and no critical praise getting an Academy Award nomination is bizarre at best. I think it's equally bizarre that they would then take back that nomination, and will not have any more nominees in the category. At this point I'm sure the Academy just wants the whole thing to be forgotten like a bad dream.
So what's the lesson in all of this? We shouldn't take these awards -- or any others for that matter -- too seriously (unless we're running an Oscar campaign, of course).