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OSCARS: Denied Song Nom, Bruce Broughton Composes Case For Tune Category Reforms

By | Friday February 28, 2014 @ 4:55pm PST
Mike Fleming

Bruce-Broughton-mug__140129235814EXCLUSIVE: Bruce Broughton speaks. The composer and former Academy Music Branch governor, whose title song from Alone Yet Not Alone received an Oscar nom but later was disqualified because of improper campaigning following an expose written by our Awards Columnist Pete Hammond, has written a letter for Deadline. In it he explains his side and calls for reforms in a current system alone-yet-not-alonehe feels makes it impossible for smaller films to compete with the star-studded songs that now fill studio Oscar-season movies. Broughton was said to have used his position and familiarity with voters to give a listen to a song from an obscure movie and it shocked everyone when it got a nom over much higher-profile tunes in movies people actually heard of. We were pretty tough on Broughton — this was the most significant blemish on the Academy during a relatively clean, wide-open race that ends Sunday — but he has asked to speak his piece and so we are allowing him to do so. To Broughton, there are flaws in the system that need to be addressed. Deadline readers can decide whether his explanation charts or not.

Related: OSCARS: On The Academy’s Most Obscure Nominee – Maybe Ever

The recent rescinding of the Oscar® nomination for Best Song in this year’s Academy Awards contest draws attention to a major problem in the Academy’s campaign methodology. The nomination was rescinded by the Motion Picture Academy’s board of governors because it was felt that I, the composer (Dennis Spiegel was the lyricist of the song), had abused my position as a former Academy governor and present member of the Music Branch Executive Board by writing an email to about 70 persons drawing their attention to the song that was included on a DVD that contained all of the 75 eligible songs in three-minute clips from their films. The song list was anonymous; no songwriter names were included. It was alleged by the press that I had “played the system” by using my position to somehow get people to vote for my song. The Academy, in a statement about the board’s action, said that my emails, by identifying the song, had “called into question whether the process was ‘fair and equitable,’” and said it was dedicated to insuring a “level playing field for all Oscar® contenders.”

Although I admitted to writing the emails and pointing out the song, I did not ask anyone to vote for the song, nor did I promote the film. Neither did I make any phone calls. These are forbidden by Academy rules: an email “may not extol the merits of a film, an achievement or an individual.” But there are no restrictions on writing the email. None. There is nothing in the rules to discourage an erstwhile governor or any member from indulging in some promotion. The major studios and many independents send out DVD screeners of their films which list all of the eligible contestants on the jacket – including the songwriters – and follow up with invitations to screenings, meet-‘n-greets, sometimes including a fully produced, non-film version CD of the song, something that is disallowed by Academy rules. When major studios “campaign,” there’s no way a small independent can adequately compete. And there’s nothing anonymous about any of it.

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OSCARS SCANDAL: ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ Writer Calls Out Academy President For What He Says Is “Breach Of The Same Standard”

Bruce Broughton mugBruce Broughton is hitting back. The composer, whose title song from Alone Yet Not Alone received an Oscar nom but later was disqualified because of improper campaigning, penned a letter Thursday to Academy Director of Communications Teni Melidonian and CEO Dawn Hudson. And today — hours after the Academy issued its latest statement on the matter — Broughton’s PR guy Ray Costa made it an open letter.

Related: OSCARS SCANDAL: Why Academy Had To Explain Nixing ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ Best Song Nom

Cheryl Boone IsaacsBroughton calls attention to Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs‘ role as a head of CBI Enterprises. As stated in her bio on the Oscars website, which was part of the press release the Academy sent out announcing her election in July, she served as a consultant on films including eventual Best Picture winners The Artist and The King’s Speech.

Safe to say this probably won’t be the last we hear of this.

Here’s the full letter:
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Oscar Scandal: Academy Nixes Song Nomination For Improper Campaigning

Oscars 2014What’s next Oscar, a Best Actress nomination for Pia Zadora? After Deadline Hollywood uncovered the story behind a bizarre Oscar nomination for a little-heard song in an unseen film that was curiously written by a former Academy Governor and head of the music branch, the Academy took the highly unusual step today of disallowing the tune from Oscar consideration. Read More »

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OSCARS: How Academy’s Most Obscure Nominee – Maybe EVER – Managed To Beat Out Taylor Swift, Coldplay And Celine Dion: Video

By | Thursday January 16, 2014 @ 10:36am PST
Pete Hammond

Of all today’s Oscar nominees the one that caused the most head-scratching among pundits and critics was Alone Yet Not Alone.

Say what?

The nominees for Best Song which mostly went to expected contenders like U2 for Mandela‘s “Ordinary Love”, Pharrell Williams for Despicable Me 2‘s “Happy”, Frozen‘s “Let It Go”  from the writers of alone-yet-not-aloneBook Of Mormon, and Karen O and Spike Jonze for The Moon Song”  from Her. But it was the first title read off by Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs that really raised eyebrows. “Alone Yet Not Alone” from, you guessed it, Alone Yet Not Alone with music by Bruce Broughton and lyrics by Dennis Spiegel. (You can hear it in a clip at the bottom).Has anyone actually heard of this film? Or the song which is a musically low key , quite spiritual hymn (hear it below). Probably not. Certainly not Taylor Swift or Coldplay or Celine Dion or Lana Del Rey who were among the artists in contention for a nomination this year but lost out to this. Somehow it snuck in and completed a 7-day qualifying run in September, but, according to the website for the movie, its national release won’t happen until March 14th. It is a Christian film or “faith based” as they are known now. There isn’t a single review of the movie on Rotten Tomatoes (a first for any Oscar-nominated movie in memory). The distributor is listed as Enthuse Entertainment. IMDB describes it as … Read More »

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