Academy Explains Decision to Rescind 'Alone Yet Not Alone' Song Nomination

Alone Yet Not Alone Still - H 2014
Anya/Enthuse Entertainment

Alone Yet Not Alone Still - H 2014

In the wake of the controversy, the Academy elaborated on the extent of songwriter Bruce Broughton's lobbying.

The Academy has elaborated on its decision to rescind the best original song nomination for "Alone Yet Not Alone," explaining that songwriter Bruce Broughton improperly lobbied "at least 70" music branch members.

On Jan. 29, the Academy announced that it was revoking nominations for the song "Alone Yet Not Alone" from writer Broughton and lyricist Dennis Spiegel because Broughton, a former representative of the music branch on the Academy's board of governors, lobbied fellow music branch members via email during the voting period.

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The decision to disqualify the little-heard tune from a little-seen film of the same name came less than two weeks after it received its surprising nomination, along with four other song, over 70 other long-listed tunes, many of which possessed higher profiles.

"I'm devastated," Broughton told THR after the decision was made. "I indulged in the simplest grassroots campaign and it went against me when the song started getting attention. I got taken down by competition that had months of promotion and advertising behind them. I simply asked people to find the song and consider it."

The Academy's full statement issued on Feb. 1 is below:  

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.