Oscar Nominee ‘Devastated’ by Disqualification; Tune Sung by Quadriplegic Singer

Bruce Broughton Oscar Nomination Rescinded

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. An additional nominee in the category will not be named.

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.

The song is performed by quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada. With limited lung capacity due to her disability, Tada, who is also an Evangelical minister, had her husband, Ken, pushing on her diaphragm while she recorded the Oscar-nominated song to give her enough breath to hit the high notes.

“I’m devastated,” Broughton told Variety. “I indulged in the simplest, lamest, grass-roots 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.”

The move is rare, but not unprecedented. The Academy dropped the nomination for Nino Rota’s score for 1972 “The Godfather,” after finding out key portions had been used in an earlier film. Louis L’Amour’s 1953 story nomination for “Hondo” was withdrawn when it was found to be based on a short story. And Edward Bernds and Elwood Ullman honorably withdrew their nomination for the 1956 “High Society.” They had written a Bowery Boys comedy with that title and figured voters were confused because the Grace Kelly-Cole Porter musical of the same title was also released that year.

And the Oscar for 1968 documentary feature was presented to “Young Americans,” then revoked after it was revealed that the film had debuted in 1967. Runner-up “Journey Into Self” was given the statuette.

In a statement about the withdrawal of the “Alone” song nomination, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said, “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.”

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.”

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

Steve Chagollan contributed to this report.

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  1. Randolph says:

    So it is determined that this little song in this little known movie had an unfair advantage. Against Disney, Pixar and the like? Wow. Me thinks I’ll never watch the Oscars again.

  2. D Miller says:

    So sorry to hear about this decision.

  3. Ken and Marilyn Foster says:

    Beautiful! Lovely song! We will boycott the Oscar Academy Awards if they don’t reconsider their decision. They are a bunch of cowards! What are they afraid of??? We are passing this on to our friends.

  4. Marie Steve says:

    This song is so beautiful, n I hope they will reconsider their decision, I’m going 2 download her. song on my phone, n share it with others, but its really good that Mike Huckabee had shed light on this song n the movie, I will boycott the Oscar Academy Awards if they don’t.reconsider their decision, n I will pass the message to all my friends.



  6. Marcia says:

    Well, obviously the song is a winner and regardless, the controversy will make it more viable. I will not watch the Oscars nor bring any of the other nominees music into my household. I will challenge others to do the same. Small minds deserve small notice.

  7. Carole says:

    Disqualifying a work of art based on prior usage in another form, is common sense. However, considering the fact that major studios spend millions of dollars to promote the other nominees seems just as inappropriate as what the former governor has done. “I also urge you to reconsider this decision and restore the song, along with fairness and integrity to the process..”Gerald Molen

  8. Flavio Santos says:

    “I urge you and the Academy to reconsider this decision and restore the song and fairness and integrity to our process.” Gerald Molen

  9. Miss Blue says:

    I am boycotting the Academy Awards. I hope others do also. This is completely wrong. I do not believe their justification. It is a poor excuse for their real reason.

  10. Thanks is given however to the Academy’s reversal it has brought this beautiful song and the singer to many that was unfamiliar with the song and the beautiful voice of Joni Tada

  11. This is wrong, wrong, wrong. To disqualify this sone just shows the fear the so called “big shots” have. They are, quite simply, being undermined by a nice man who played by all the rules, and lovely lady whose lifelong struggle have inspired us all. I can assure you that NOW everyone will want to buy this sone and see this movie. I, and my family, surely will do so.

  12. dixie says:

    haven’t watched the Oscars in years, it is and always has been political. to bad this beautiful song and movie didn’t get best picture.

  13. bob says:

    Can’t even remember the last time I or anyone I know took the Oscars seriously … everyone knows it is just an insider popularity contest… board members vote for whichever movie their studio produced, and it comes down to which studio had the most board members that year… can anyone even remember the last time a “Best Picture” award ACTUALLY went to the Best movie of that year?

    • This whole brouhaha did succeed in garnering a lot of attention for the song AND even the movie. Maybe more people should watch a few more films with real messages–yes, like this one AND, the big film “Lone Survivor” Reinstate the song “Alone.” Watch, this mess will make it a #1 seller.

  14. T L Barton says:

    Broughton got screwed. I listened to all of the nominated songs and his was excellent, possibly the best. I really question the motives of deadspin and Pete Hammond. While I think it’s true that the song would have been ignored if Broughton’s name wasn’t on it, I saw no evidence that he tampered with the process. This is a real slap-in-the-face to a well-respected film and television composer. The Academy owes him a serious apology.

  15. lynnleviton says:

    This song, score, etc. is a winner as far as I am concerned. Truely beautiful.

  16. Also, deep appreciation to Dennis Spiegel who wrote the deeply inspiring words to the song.
    I should have read the article more carefully. My favorite poet John Keats said a long time ago
    “A thing of beauty is a joy forever. It’s loveliness increases…” So will this song.

  17. A beautiful song sung beautifully for sure and full of comfort and bringing comfort to others as
    it will surely continue to do – transcends all awards. Like the grace of God, It simply is. Thank you
    Mr Broughton and Joni…I am sure many more people will hear this song than would have even
    with the award. Thank you for the courage and beauty to write, promote and sing it. Gorgeous.

  18. Nana Geraci says:

    What a beautiful song and voice! Joni, you sing like an angel!

  19. Kevin says:

    Sounds pretty much exactly like “Come Thou Font Of Every Blessing”… Which was a great song. Also, Lana Del Rey got ROBBED.

  20. The real question is why wasn’t “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran nominated. That really was the best movie song all year.

  21. davidlosangeles says:

    It’s a fame to do that at the lyrics song artist Dennis Spiegel, he didn’t do something wrong. Lobbying is everywhere… remember, the movie “The Artist”… no comment….

  22. David K says:

    Boy is that song awful!

  23. Such a shame. But the rules are the rules. Hopefully, the song will get a wide audience.

  24. Linda Schiffer says:

    The song is beautiful and beautifully sung. It should be presented on the Oscar stage, nominated or not! It deserve recognition and the singer does, too. Joni Eareckson Tada’s efforts to sing this song must have been Herculean, Thank you, Mr. Broughton for the beautiful music. Thank you, Joni for your voice.

  25. Jamie says:

    All of a sudden there are qualms about all the promotion. Did somebody just notice that the current system is shutting out absolutely wonderful films in all categories thanks to the heavy hustle at the end of the year? As it stands now despite some worthy films, it is a great big hulking bore thanks to the buying, selling, and seduction of voters.

  26. Sharon Dieter says:

    Should have known better. He actually was part of the committee that *generates* the rules of play. And he broke them. If he was jealous about other projects having larger marketing budgets, he should have dealt with his feelings, and raised money properly through proper marketing campaigns. Rather than this suspect, sleight of hand, “internal messaging” rubbish. But then religiosity clouds the mind, doesnt it, shuts it down. We all know that. So…not surprising, as an outcome. What a fool!

    • Anita David says:

      Actually, Bruce broke no rules. He is a most humble man of the greatest integrity and was simply drawing attention to the fact that this song existed at all. It is an absolutely crime and travesty, the way in which he has been insulted and defamed. His demise has been created by a strong-arming Hollywood mogul, a megalomaniac who already has film nominated, and a bully. Bruce was not in the slightest jealous of anyone – in fact the nomination was an astonishing surprise for him and his wife.. He does not need the Oscar but he does need to be dignified.

    • Eli says:

      Seriously, for this you start a petition, for a cheater. Come on, do something useful with your life for God’s sake! Just leave it Alone… yet… No, just leave it alone… wow, that really is a craptastic song.

  27. it would be nice if they let Joni sing it at the Oscars anyway. Its a beautiful song and it would bless those who hear it …….Its wonderful to know that when you are Alone, you are never really alone. God is always with us. In good times and in bad.

  28. Too bad he didn’t take out an ad in Variety instead! Other ‘precedents’ are so different, it’s ridiculous to even compare. I wonder how much persuasive power Bruce’s e-mail had. Really a shame.

  29. Cineaste says:

    The sixth place nominee should now be nominated.

  30. I think it is a terrible shame- All the other noms are big films with big campaigns – She is an amazing lady to sing so well under those circumstances — You know Frozen will win !!!!!

  31. John says:

    The Academy enforces its own ethical rules and this is because it’s “the worst liberal bastion”? And then you go on to applaud movies with a “clear moral message” — yes, they got made, they made those in the same Hollywood you despise. Which is it? Hollywood sucks or it’s great? Liberals suck, but the same liberals made “Saving Mr. Banks,” which apparently you like. (Pssst, they made “Lone Survivor” here, too.)

    You know, this is a website for entertainment industry news, mostly for people who work here. Please go back to Drudge or whatever angry-rant website you came from.

    • Don says:

      “You know, this is a website for entertainment industry news, mostly for people who work here” So, anyone who follows entertainment industry news, but doesn’t work here, please keep your comments to yourself. The Entertainment industry doesn’t care about what you want, you will take what we give you. And, please keep your Christian views to yourself, because we are the voice of tolerance, not you, and we do not like dissenting voices. Thank you and please watch the Oscar telecast, because we can’t think of any reason you would not.

      • John says:

        No, keep your angry-conservative political rants to yourself because this is not the forum for that. You all have Drudge and Redstate if you want to go bash Hollywood. “The Entertainment Industry doesn’t care what you want, you will take what we give you.” How’s that victim status working out? You are free to go see or not see or watch or not watch any one of the ten million products Hollywood is selling. No one is forcing you to take anything. In fact, I wish Hollywood would care LESS about what you want, because it cares plenty. This is a business.

      • John says:


        1. Royal You, my man. Touchy much?

        2. Way to miss the point of my post completely.

        3. “Lack of tolerance in a divergent view” — okay, now I’m laughing. Thanks for that little blast of self-righteousness. Also, see #2.

        4. Have a lovely day.

      • Don says:

        BTW, John, instead of calling comments “rants” you need to familiarize yourself with the work sarcasm…

      • Don says:

        Wow, John, touchy much? You seem to assume a lot as I made no reference to anything about Drudge or Redstate, which I don’t read. I quoted and took exception to your comment “You know, this is a website for entertainment industry news, mostly for people who work here” in your rant and that means I have angry-conservative political rants because I disagree with your thesis. I have been involved in the investment business for over 40 years and followed the entertainment stocks as well as having gotten to know many people in the business. In investments, one puts the mosaic together to come to a conclusion and the mosaic here suggests a lack of even handedly applying standards that keeps a certain viewpoint (Christian) under wraps. No victim here, but you sure seem to think no one has a right to a view except, “for people who work here” and that is the type of disrespect that gives the industry a black eye, IMO. Your lack of tolerance in a divergent view from you is to respond with hokum.

    • Bernie says:

      Zero tolerance. Well done.

    • Scuba Girl says:

      Thank you, John, Finally, a voice of sanity.

      • J.E. Vizzusi says:

        Sorry about not replying in the correct space. My ultimate example of self-promotion is The Blair Witch Project. The had 100thousand fans before a release because of their super creative website promotions. We can do this ourselves is my overall point. Just play by the rules when in compitition or in this case nominated.

    • Peas and Tanks says:

      I wish I could Like your comment a thousand times.

      • Learn the Internet says:

        I wish people like you could figure out how to click Reply to the comment in question so we know what you’re talking about.

        Just sayin’.

      • Bernie says:

        I wish the comments would put one’s comment below the message to which they hit “reply”!

  32. Eli says:

    It’s a terrible and embarrassingly bad song. Which clearly got the advantage of having someone from within the clique pulling from it. Come on, he’s not a little guy, he’s the leader of one of the branches of the ACADEMY. He’s more in, than anybody else nominated. He’s just portraying himself as the little guy to get some sympathy after playing dirty.

    • cb says:

      Eli, before you assassinate Bruce’s character I suggest you learn a bit about him. He’s more of a man with more integrity and dignity than I’m afraid you will ever know. I’m afraid you have no idea what you are talking about. Bruce doesn’t play dirty….he doesn’t need nor would he ever consider it. You make not like the work…but your comments say volumes about who you are as a person.

      • Eli says:

        Oh please, the guy robbed a worthier song of a nomination. for what, for a little golden statue, Christian movie my A$$… cheating done for the glory of Oscar… sad.. sad… sad.

  33. darron says:

    now theres room for “dangerous” by d
    from the feature “Meth Head”!!

  34. Gary says:

    So it is ok for Weinstein or another company to barrage Academy members with millions of dollars of ads but it is not ok for the little guy to send notes to friends to support his song. This is shameful on the part of the Academy. It is a mirror of American politics in which the big bucks always win. Pretty sad.

    • pee bee says:

      The little guy? He’s a former head of the music division of the Academy – he’d hold a lot of sway. it’s more akin to a boss telling his workers who to vote for.

  35. Unbelievable! A studio can put tons of money into a campaign and the little guy just alerts people? Sort of scary to me! The Christians will say this is the “Enemy” at work.

  36. tyler says:

    Aaand the little guy losses again. Shame on the Academy for stripping him of his nomination. It was an email! The lavish parties and marketing are alright but not an email. Ridiculous

    • CHARLIE says:

      he’s NOT a little guy – he is a well placed member of the film community – stop feeling sorry for him. and now he’s bringing out the handicapped card. She did an admirable job and should be applauded for her effort but no remembered for this guy’s stupid error. – he got what he deserved and yes, the submitted song with the next most votes should of course slide in there. he’s an embarrassment to all of us AMPAS members.

      • cb says:

        Charlie, I’m afraid this says more about a corrupt system and gives Bruce more credit and influence than he deserves.

  37. djfitzgerald111 says:

    Reblogged this on South Side Danny and commented:
    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. An additional nominee in the category will not be named.

    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.

  38. Ken Longworth says:

    Ridiculous! The studios can put a lot of money into trying to get nominations for their products but a much-credited composer can’t do his own campaigning. The Oscars are even more farcical than they have become.

  39. oh god lets hope now Lana del Rey ‘s young and beautiful comes in

  40. J.E. Vizzusi says:

    “This truly is a damn shame! Its getting to the point that Nominee’s knowingly aware of little or no promotion are taking it into their own hands to get the attention they so duely need. Its not a even playing field when big budgeted Films with major Studio backing are spending millions for a Vote whilist small sometimes more creative Films with major nominations are never heard about. The bottom line is that e-mailing members to get their attention is against the rules and I do support the ruling on the matter. However, discussion must take place regarding the publicity that studios and distributors hurl at the trades prior to an Oscar vote. JV (IDA Member)

  41. DougW says:

    The film also had no promotion during its one week LA run, which should have made it ineligible to begin with. I do think the next highest vote getter in the category should now receive a nomination.

    • J.E. Vizzusi says:

      I believe as long as your Film runs a week even to a empty house, its becomes eligible.

      • J.E. Vizzusi says:

        I think the word “unfair” is putting it very mildly. But I also feel in some cases self-promotion from Indies can be far more creative and compelling than promotions that Majors dream up. Sure, you can’t complete with multi-million dollar ad campaigns but if you stay with with your film, you can build an audience. In the case of the heavily nominated “Nebraska” this scenario analysis may apply.

      • Glenn C. says:

        You are correct. So if it played anyway for at least a week in 2013 then it is eligible. It is unfair how the studios with big bucks get to promote better but what can you do? It’s the way it is.

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