January 29, 2014

Academy Awards Take Back Best Original Song Nomination for 'Alone Yet Not Alone'

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).

Links:

[via Indiewire]

Your Comment

28 Comments

So, Joe, I take it you're too young to remember Pia Zadora?

January 29, 2014 at 9:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DLD

You're talking about the Golden Globe fiasco? The Globes are nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press though, Oscars are from members in the Academy, so it's much more bizarre in my mind.

January 29, 2014 at 9:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

Ya, that Golden Globes was bought by her ex-husband, who wined and dined the foreign press. I just don't think this affair is all that bizarre, aside of the post-nom removal. There's a lot of back scratching, backroom handshaking and subtle and not-so-subtle campaigns by the producers, the studios and, naturally, the agencies. The latter, in fact, are arguably the worst of the bunch because getting an Oscar nom does wonders for their talent poaching ... eh, recruitment.
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PS. The late great Julia Phillips - an Oscar winning producer for the Sting - wrote a scathing and amusingly bitter memoirs about her adventures in the film trade, "You'll never eat lunch in this town again". Even as many personalities mentioned in that book are no longer among the living, including Julia herself, the book is a must read for those interested in how the industry conducts itself on a day-to-day basis. Another must-read is a famed trial lawyer Pierce O'Donnell's "Fatal Subtraction".

January 29, 2014 at 10:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DLD

I saw the film. It was horrible. Seriously some of the worst story telling I've seen.

January 29, 2014 at 10:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Micah

I think the lesson is that if you are a Christian in the film industry, getting any kind of recognition at the top is going to be an awfully uphill battle. Not that it was ever easy for any outsiders without deep promotional pockets, who can't afford to release in the required markets, or advertise in the required newspapers, or pay off the required insiders in order to gain access. If you're Christian, though, it's doubly difficult. I suspect Communists in the 1950's found LA far more accepting then than Christians find it now.

Perhaps this a blessing in disguise. There's really little reason for us to make a pilgrimage to this modern-day Sodom or seek an approval from it that will never come.

The more Hollywood spurns the outsiders, the stronger incentive there is for those outsiders to build something better and make Hollywood ever-more irrelevant.

January 30, 2014 at 1:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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could you imagine a communist christian?!

January 30, 2014 at 1:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Juan

Or perhaps it's time for Christian Oscars; the Chroscars...

January 30, 2014 at 3:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Jesus

Noah, Son of God, Exodus, and Mary, mother of Christ. All coming out in 2014. Yeah, Hollywood does seem to hate those Christians.

January 30, 2014 at 9:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Doug

Well, they're happy to feed them Christian-ish movies and take their money, anyway.

January 30, 2014 at 9:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Andrew

Exodus is about Moses.

January 30, 2014 at 10:23AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Jesper

.....which appears in the Christian bible.

January 31, 2014 at 8:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Doug

Greg, your assertion that Christians can't get recognition in Hollywood totally ignores the fact the song, which is clearly spiritual in nature, WAS actually nominated for the award. The nomination was rescinded only after it was discovered that Bruce Broughton, who was representing a clearly Christian themed movie, broke the rules in the eyes of the Academy. Am I missing something?

January 30, 2014 at 10:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brian

Greg just likes to feel oppressed, it feeds the false subjugated minority complex.

January 30, 2014 at 12:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Zack

He is right about the communists though.

January 30, 2014 at 2:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DLD

Anyone who thinks that Hollywood is not anti-christian is not paying attention.

Or likes it that way.

January 30, 2014 at 2:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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AJ

Sad but seems like the whole world is lately.

January 30, 2014 at 3:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Anthony Marino

Hollywood is anti-Hollywood. Just look at how many times LA has been destroyed in disaster movies over the years. "This is the End" was the latest in a long line of anti-Hollywood commentary. They stick it to themselves as much, if not more, as they give it to others.

January 30, 2014 at 4:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brian

Many amateur rhetors think of debate as an "us-versus-them" sort of affair, and that the readers who disagree are the enemy whose inferior arguments must be ground into the dirt.

January 30, 2014 at 3:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Carl

Not "unprecedented." Various sources report 4 or 5 nominations have been rescinded in Oscar history: http://insidemovies.ew.com/2014/01/29/alone-yet-not-alone-the-other-nomi...

January 30, 2014 at 12:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Thanks for the link. What's interesting is that except for the one in the 30s, which they aren't sure what happened, the films were declared ineligible for very technical reasons. This nomination was revoked for reasons having nothing to do with technical eligibility. It's quite a bit murkier.

January 30, 2014 at 12:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

The headline sounds horrible, the explanation admirable. The Academy is acting the way any governing body should, the opposite of the way American government does with it's revolving door to lucrative lobbying jobs.

Bummer for the musicians and producers of the movie.

January 30, 2014 at 5:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Charlie

somehow they managed not to nominate Fare Thee Well from Inside Llewyn Davis. As weak as the oscars generally are the best song category has been by far the most criticised over the last few years. They keep changing the criteria for voting because of how ridiculous it is.

January 30, 2014 at 8:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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andy

The song was kind of derivative, in a Celtic kind of style, but then so is the Lord Of The Rings type stuff.
I actually found the song quite uplifting.

Can you imagine though, if it were an indie progressive film about gay marriage or something, and the title song (sung by a paraplegic like the singer is here) had it's nomination taken back. I reckon there'd be a HUGE outcry from the liberals.

January 30, 2014 at 9:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Fletch

As has been mentioned, the Godfather soundtrack was removed because Nino Rota used the "love theme" in another film.
Godfather (1972) soundtrack
[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gm3gZgF_Xh4 ]
Fortunella (1958)
[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZgEkHWt58o#t=45 ]
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The same general melody but different tempo and feel ...

January 31, 2014 at 12:38AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DLD

A lackluster performance of a beige melody and uninspired arrangement in the most bogus category of any major awards show.

And if you had to pick one "Happy" by Pharrell Williams absolutely smokes it.

January 31, 2014 at 6:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Billy Barber

I actually worked on this film and could completely see such a foolish thing happening. The complete production process was awful. The conditions of the filming locations were dangerous and put us all at risk of getting injured. A person actually died on set (although he was at fault). The producers of the film really had no idea of how the filmmaking process works, and the original Director was even fired after a week of filming. It was a crazy film to work on.

January 31, 2014 at 1:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Justin A. Wallace

I really want to see it now. Glad you made it through, if the "you're only as good as your last job" saying means anything I think you did pretty good.

February 1, 2014 at 2:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Anthony Marino

Whoa. More details on this person dying?

February 5, 2014 at 11:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Justin Reese