When Oscar nominations were announced earlier this month, the Best Original Song category had people a-flutter because an obscure song, “Alone Yet Not Alone,” from an obscure Christian film of the same name, got a nod over big songs from movies like Frozen. The nomination has now been rescinded, probably because the Academy hates Christians, or maybe because the film’s composer went full-on cheatsville and improperly lobbied the Academy to vote for his song.
Some backstory first. When this nomination got announced, there was an absolute slew of prissy self-righteous articles in Christian papers that came in various flavors of “this was Jesus’ hand” and “we never thought a Christian movie could ever make it in heathen America.” Two dumb tastes that taste worse together. Here for your convenience is a representative example.
A Christian movie, which only screened in nine cities in 2013, has picked up an Academy Award nomination for “Best Original Song” this week and has surprised both critics and the song’s composer and singer alike.
Joni Erickson Tada, the vocalist for the song, as well as an author, painter and quadriplegic who runs her own organization Joni and Friends, said that the Oscar nomination came as a complete surprise to her.
“I’m the least likely candidate to record a song for a movie, I’ll tell you that up front, so it’s amazing,” Tada told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s amazing enough that a family friendly movie with a Christian theme is nominated in any category for an Academy Award. Besides The Blind Side, which was wonderful, it’s just not the norm.”
It IS wonderful! Praise be Jesus. Seriously, it must have been Jesus, because the song is very not good.
The Academy loves big personal triumph songs, to be sure, but there’s any number of songs from last year in that genre that didn’t suck as hard, such as Coldplay’s “Atlas,” that failed to garner a nomination.
Sorry lady. Hero personal story and all, but terrible song. And turns out it wasn’t the divine hand of Jesus that made sure your little ditty got the nod, nor the fevered whispers of the prayerful. It was the song’s composer improperly lobbying for the thing.
The song had come under fire after it was revealed that Bruce Broughton, the composer, was a former Governor himself and former head of the Academy’s music branch […] [A]fter the Oscar nominations were announced in January, Broughton “started making phone calls to colleagues urging them to consider the song” when filling out their Oscar ballots.
“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,” Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in the statement announcing the ouster of “Alone Yet Not Alone.”
You will not be the least surprised to learn that although this is one of those things that a former Academy Governor AND head of one of the branches would well know to be a no-no, Boughton has taken to his Facebook page to share his hurt feels and explain that it is not his fault, it’s the fault of big films for being big.
“How do I feel? I feel as though I’m the butt of a campaign to discredit a song, the nomination of which caught people by surprise. As many of you have noted, the campaigning on the other songs is epic compared to my simple email note. The marketing abilities of the other companies before and after the nomination far outstrip anything that this song was able to benefit from.
This is true, to a point. Big films do indeed have big budgets to do promotions about their latest Disney princess-type song. Your tiny film, which ran in a tiny number of theaters for a tiny number of days to get a nod this year, even though it wasn’t slated for actual release until March of this year and that has now been pushed back to June, does not have a similar budget. That is sad. Maybe if Jesus loved you more, he would have showered you with riches so you could mount a proper ad campaign. Or Jesus would have gotten a specific exemption into the Academy eligibility and lobbying rules that said “hey mang, if you love Jesus real hard, you do not have to follow the lobbying rules that anyone else does. Praise the Lord and pass the Oscar!” but Jesus did not do that for you either. If only you’d prayed harder, or cheated less, you might still be able to claim that your film had an Oscar nomination.
As of this writing, the website for the film is still touting the Oscar nomination as its singular achievement. We helpfully fixed the site for them.