As you have undoubtedly heard because the drama is too juicy not to spread, the Original Song nominee that shocked everyone on Nomination Morning is no longer. "Alone Yet Not Alone" from Alone Yet Not Alone, a faith-based movie, has been disqualified due to excessive untoward campaigning. The nomination had been controversial right from the start for multiple reasons. First, no one had heard of the movie (not even one review on Rotten Tomatoes at the time) and people don't like obscure things. Then the amateurish-looking and racist-seeming trailer got passed around mockingly and we learned that anti-gay activists were endorsing the film. The team behind it basically gave God the credit for its nomination. Listen, Oscar night is heaven on earth but God's got nothing to do with it.
More on Oscar's most aggravating branch after the jump...
Things really heated up when it was revealed that the movie wasn't traditionally advertised during its run apart from the theater showtime listing (a clear spirit of the law violation but Oscar let that first offense slide for some reason). The latest is that that the songwriter Bruce Broughton, an Executive Committee member had emailed around blatantly asking for votes and thus the nomination was doomed. That's a big no-no. Why do people never learn? (see also Governor Christie's current scandal in New Jersey) If you're going to break the rules, never put it in writing! Sadly, the nomination will not be replaced so we won't know who came in 6th but with so many good options this year it's a pity and a punishment to those that 6th place slotter that followed the rules that this is the way it worked out.
- SHORT SUBJECT – COMEDY, 1931/1932: Stout Hearts and Willing Hands —nomination was replaced
- DOCUMENTARY FEATURE, 1968: Young Americans: Not just the nomination but the statue itself!
- ORIGINAL SCORE, 1972: The Godfather. Too much of the score was recycled material. Revote so the category did end up with five nominees.
- BEST FOREIGN FILM, 1992: A Place in the World. Not Uruguyan enough! - nomination was not replaced.
- LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM, 2011: Tuba Atlantic Revoked after the ceremony when it had already lost
- BEST ORIGINAL SONG, 2013: "Alone Yet Not Alone" from Alone Yet Not Alone. nomination was not replaced.
I hadn't even heard of the reversal on Tuba Atlantic just two years ago. I assume that stealth move was due to the shorts categories very low profile. Other campaigns to revoke Oscar nominations have been unsuccessful
Naturally, because Alone Yet Not Alone was a faith-based movies and Christians LOVE their persecution complexes, this tweet exchange had me LOL'ing instantly:
@EricDSnider You misspelled "minutes."— Scott Renshaw (@scottrenshaw) January 30, 2014
It's hilarious because it's true. Please send me the links when those articles go up. I'm sure this saga isn't over yet.
But above all else this topic reminds us again what a complete mess the music branch of the Academy is. They're the single most cliquey branch, with more "default" nominees than any other and a "close the circle!" pattern where it's harder than it should be for new composers to get their first nomination, even if they win huge acclaim. I'm absolutely convinced that John Williams, for instance, could hit one note on a piano over and over again and they'd jot his name down at the top of the ballot. Let us not speak of Randy Newman's constant nominations from 1982 through 2010.
Perhaps most aggravating is their practice of bizarrely inconsistent or confusing rulings from disqualifications (no Jonny Greenwood for There Will Be Blood for you!) due to pre-existing material or not "not substantial" enough underscoring but actual Oscar wins for scores where most of the big moments are pre-existing material (see Gustavo Santaolalla's Babel) or their previous (thankfully overhauled) voting system in which you could actually vote AGAINST nominees by scoring them low and preventing their "average" from qualifying them for a nod, or their history of nominating end credits song but then getting huffy about it at other times (no Bruce Springsteen for The Wrestler? Are you f'ing kidding me?) or disqualifying songs on technicalities even though they perfectly fit the spirit of what an "Original Song" should mean to a movie (see "Come What May" from Moulin Rouge!, written for another Baz Luhrmann picture but saved instead for that one which was disqualified while Steve Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You" written years before Woman in Red filmed did not result in a disqualification or an Oscar revoked.
Perhaps the silver lining of this current debacle is that it might prompt the Academy to look into "fixing" this branch the way they've shaken up and improved the documentary and foreign branches and their voting procedures when they were shamed into it after numerous questionable choices.