On Wednesday, Bruce Broughton learned that the Best Original Song Oscar nomination he’d received for Alone Yet Not Alone had been rescinded. Today, he’s fighting back.
To catch you up, the Academy decided to disqualify the Christian drama Alone Yet Not Alone from Oscar consideration because of improper lobbying on behalf of Broughton, who penned the title track for the movie. The fact that Alone received a nomination was a bit of a surprise, seeing as how very few people even knew what the movie was prior to Oscar-nomination morning. Private investigators were hired to explore the film’s eligibility. But the film followed Academy protocol by opening theatrically during the designated time frame, and taking out ads lobbying for support.
But Broughton went one step further, sending 70 Academy members this email (obtained by CBS News) that asked for support:
Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said 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."
But Broughton, who is on the executive committee of the Academy's music branch and was an Academy governor until 2012, argues he hasn’t served as an Academy governor in almost two years, and he never used that influence to gain support. He tells CBS News, "I didn't ask anybody to vote for it. I didn't do any promotion about the film. I didn't do anything that I understood the rules to exclude."
There seems to be a thin line between Broughton’s email campaign and the incessant For Your Consideration advertisements studios take out on behalf of their Oscar hopefuls. As noted Oscar columnist Kris Tapley writes on his InContention blog, "If the Academy is going to go after Broughton, ‘then they should start coming after all of us,’ one industry insider not affiliated with any of the nominees and who had no skin in the Best Original Song game this season told me. ‘They should look at everyone and not just wait for someone to forward them an email from a guy who said 'listen to my song.' It seems really punitive and over the top.’ Because that's all that happened here. A guy with contacts sent a few emails asking people to listen to his submission. He hired a firm originally to get the word out but it was drowned out by other campaigns."
It has been reported that no snubbed song will be selected to fill the void left by Alone Yet Not Alone, meaning only four songs will vie for the Oscar this year. And Broughton, as he says on film’s Facebook page, is "devastated" by the roller-coaster ride that has occurred as a result of this embarrassing turn of events. At the very least, listen to the song that now goes down in history as an Oscar nominee that lost its nomination.