Those who woke up bright and early two weeks ago to catch the Oscar nominations announcement had a surprise. No, it wasn’t the fact that the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis (one of the best films of the year) was overlooked in the major categories; the shock came with the nod to Alone Yet Not Alone for Best Song. Most people hadn’t even heard of this not-so-vaguely racist historical epic about colonialists battling “hostile native tribes,” so how had it received so many votes from members of the Academy? Basically, it was a case of backroom dealing and the movie has subsequently been stripped of its nomination.
It turns out that the composer of Alone Yet Not Alone, Bruce Broughton, used his connections and, as an official press release from the Academy states, “had emailed members of the [music] branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period.” Had Broughton been a random guy his maneuvering might not have had a huge impact, but the composer has a lot of clout in the industry: he is a former governor of the music branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and still sits on the exec committee. Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs addressed the situation in a statement, saying: “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.”
This isn’t the first time the Academy has withdrawn an Oscar nomination. There have been four other cases and in 1969 even a winner, Young Americans, had its statue for Best Documentary revoked.
Here’s the song. If you can listen to the whole thing, I salute you.