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There were plenty of surprises that came on Oscar nomination day a couple weeks ago, from Tom Hanks getting snubbed for Best Actor to the Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis being completely ignored in all major categories, but the real King Headscratcher was the nomination for the eponymous song from Alone Yet Not Alone: a Christian film that nobody ever heard of until it magically got Oscar attention for its music. The nomination has actually caused quite a bit of controversy, as a Hollywood public relations firm actually hired a private investigator to look into situation, suspecting foul play. Today it turns out that they were 100% right to do so.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences has announced that they have decided to disqualifiy Alone Yet Not Alone from this year's Best Original Song category, citing an investigation that revealed improper lobbying on the part of songwriter Bruce Broughton - a former AMPAS Governor and current Music Branch executive committee member. After the voting threw up some red flags, the organization did an investigation into the nomination and discovered that Boughton "had emailed members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period." The song will not be listed on Oscar ballots when the final round of voting begins on February 14th.
Said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy President, in a statement, "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."
THR notesthat the aforementioned private investigation also discovered that Alone Yet Not Alone also seems to violate Rule 2.2e of the Academy's rules, which states that "All eligible motion pictures, unless otherwise noted must be advertised and exploited during their Los Angeles County qualifying run customary to industry practice."
While I can't imagine there will be many out there that will be too upset about Alone Yet Not Alone losing out on its nomination, as nobody even knew it existed a month ago, but what doesn't this make you think about the AMPAS voting and lobbying practices? Alone Yet Not Alone was noticed because it seemed like such a left-field choice, but who is to say that this kind of thing isn't happening all the time with the Best Picture nominees?