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alone yet not alone
Film still from "Alone Yet Not Alone" | Anya/Enthuse Entertainment
alone yet not alone
Tony Wade in “Alone Yet Not Alone” | Anya/Enthuse Entertainment

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences sent out an announcement to address their removal of “Alone Yet Not Alone” from the best song category. No song will be nominated in its place.

The move by the Academy to revoke the movie has been a shocker. The selection of the song, from a film of the same name that no one has heard of – and which presumably only played a week in L.A. to be eligible for the nomination – was almost as controversial as its removal from the list. The movie, set in the 18th century, is about Colonists in the Ohio Valley, and features a quadriplegic pastor who sings the title song.

Below is the announcement from the Academy:

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.

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Paula Schwartz
Paula Schwartz is a veteran journalist based in New York who is passionate about the movies. Her idea of heaven is watching three movies in a row. She’s written for various outlets, including the New York Times, Showbiz411, More and MovieMaker Magazine. For five seasons, she contributed to the New York Times seasonal movie blog, Carpetbaggers, where she covered major awards events and interviewed stars like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman and Helen Mirren.

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