When the Oscar nominations were announced, January 16th, some noticed an unusual entry in the Original Song category. The song “Alone Yet Not Alone,” from the film of the same name, was composed by Bruce Broughton, with lyrics by Dennis Spiegel. One question raised early on was if Alone Yet Not Alone was an actual movie, as no one had heard of it. It turns out, it is. Sort of. It is listed on Rottentomatoes.com, but without any critic or user reviews, no quotes, no headshots for any named cast members, and no forum discussions. AYNA stars Kelly Greyson, Natalie Racoosin, and Jenn Gotzon, with two directing credits, for Ray Bengston, and George D. Escobar. It should be mentioned the film enjoyed ten days in an actual theater in 2013, earning $133,546 to date, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
Some complained that the film didn’t qualify for consideration, given a strict reading of Academy rules. Specifically, as reported on thr.com, a private investigator was hired through a PR firm representing a competing songwriter from another film, who was convinced of a swindle. The investigator determined the film had run for at least a week, one showing a day, in Los Angeles county – fulfilling Academy requirements for Oscars consideration. However, the rule requires a film be “advertised and exploited” during that run.
According to THR, the Academy looked into the concern and determined that while the producers of the film did not purchase any advertising, the movie theater did advertise the showtimes for the film. This was found to be sufficient. It should also be noted that Bruce Broughton has been a prolific composer, having at least 126 musical scores for TV and film to his credit (via IMDB) , including the main themes to JAG and Tiny Toons Adventures and scores for the films Tombstone and Lost In Space. He’s also won 10 Emmys.
While Broughton surely must have enjoyed his nomination, at least for a little while, it wasn’t long before the media began reporting he had been an Academy Governor for 10 years, stepping down only in 2013. Also, he’s still an executive committee member of the Academy’s Music Branch.
This evening, via their media contact, the Academy released a forthright explanation of their further inquiry which has resulted in the withdrawal of the Alone nomination. Apparently, they discovered that Mr. Broughton improperly used his connection to other Academy members to curry favor for his song. As the Academy explains, voting members are provided with the songs on DVD, but the composer and lyricist are not named. Mr. Broughton emailing his fellow Academy members (aka: the voters) highlighting which song was his was deemed inappropriate.
The Academy’s full press release:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA (Jan. 29, 2014) — 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.
The Board determined that Broughton’s actions were inconsistent with the Academy’s promotional regulations, which provide, among other terms, that “it is the Academy’s goal to ensure that the Awards competition is conducted in a fair and ethical manner. If any campaign activity is determined by the Board of Governors to work in opposition to that goal, whether or not anticipated by these regulations, the Board of Governors may take any corrective actions or assess any penalties that in its discretion it deems necessary to protect the reputation and integrity of the awards process.”
An additional nominee in the Original Song category will not be named. The remaining nominees in the category are:
“Happy” from “Despicable Me 2”
Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams
“Let It Go” from “Frozen”
Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
“The Moon Song” from “Her”
Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze
“Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson
The members from each of the Academy’s branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories – actors nominate actors, film editors nominate film editors, musicians and composers nominate song and score.
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.
Academy Awards® for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on OscarÂ® Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland CenterÂ® and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscars, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.
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