The Academy has announced the Board of Governors has voted to rescind the Original Song nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone,” by Bruce Broughton. A press release says the decision was prompted by the discovery 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.
This is an important distinction as the song’s eligibility was also called into question as noted by the Hollywood Reporter as it did have an Oscar-qualifying run took place at Laemmle Town Center 5 in Encino, where it screened once daily at 9:55 p.m. from Nov. 15 through Nov. 22, but in order to be eligible the distributors must also purchase advertising prior to the film’s one week run… There was no such advertising.
The Academy, however, chose to focus on Broughton’s lobbying of his former Branch members, which is a bit quizzical considering this is what goes on in every single category. Of course, given Broughton’s one-time (and current) position at the Academy this is even dirtier pool than what is currently taking place in the For Your Consideration market where smear campaigns are leaked to the media on a near daily basis, but nevertheless, the Academy admitting the wooing of Branch members was a problem is a little hypocritical if you ask me.
“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,” said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy President.
The press release adds:
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.”
To focus on the fact Broughton was a former Governor and current Music Branch executive committee member is splitting hairs if you ask me, but whatever, life goes on.
As to whether this has ever happened before, it most certainly is rare, this being only the fifth time it has happened. Here are the previous instances:
SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
“Tuba Atlantic” — Hallvar WitzÃ¸
After the awards ceremony on February 26, 2012, the Academy was made aware that “Tuba Atlantic” had been shown on Norwegian television in 2010, making the film ineligible for the 84th Awards under the rules governing the category. In July 2012, the nomination was rescinded by the Board of Governors.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“A Place in the World” – Uruguay
After nominations were announced, information came to light that showed that this film was wholly produced in Argentina, and had insufficient Uruguayian artistic control. The film was declared ineligible and removed from the final ballot.
“Young Americans” — Robert Cohn and Alex Grasshoff, Producers
At the 41st Awards ceremony on April 14, 1969, “Young Americans” was announced as the winner of the Documentary Feature Oscar. On May 7, 1969, the film was declared ineligible after it was revealed that the film had played in October of 1967, therefore ineligible for a 1968 Award. The first runner-up, “Journey into Self,” was awarded the statuette on May 8, 1969.
SHORT SUBJECT (COMEDY)
“Stout Hearts and Willing Hands” — RKO Radio
Originally announced as one of the nominees in this category, but before the final voting was done, this film was disqualified and was replaced by another RKO Radio short, “Scratch-As-Catch-Can.” No documentation has been found as to why this film was disqualified.
Note, outside of the lack of documentation for the “Stout Hearts and Willing Hands” nomination, the rest of the nominees were deemed ineligible due to release disqualifications, while the stripping of the nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone” is based on ethics. Wouldn’t it be great if this is a move to a new structure in awards nominations, where lobbying and advertising is minimized and it becomes more about the quality of the actual films? One can only hope.
UPDATE: Some are telling me this has actually happened more than five times and they’re right… depending on how you look at it. The above was straight from the Academy, but the additional times a nomination was removed was not because the Academy “rescinded” it, but because it was either “withdrawn” or “replaced“. When I asked the Academy it is clear they take these specific words to heart. Therefore, here are the four other times this has happened:
Dive Bomber – Dive Bomber was dropped and replaced by another Warner Bros. title, The Sea Wolf. No reason known. [source]
BEST WRITING, MOTION PICTURE STORY
Hondo — Although the film had originally been nominated the producer and the nominee questioned its inclusion into the Motion Picture Story category since the film is based on the short story “The Gift of Cochise” published in Collier’s magazine in July 1952, a fact not represented in the film’s credits. The nomination was withdrawn and only four films were included on the final ballot. [source]
BEST WRITING, MOTION PICTURE STORY
High Society — The film was accidentally included on the ballot in category for the Academy Award for Best Story. The error took place because of another film with the same title – the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production of the Cole Porter musical High Society starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra – was in release. Edward Bernds and Elwood Ullman, the screenwriters for The Bowery Boys comedy, acknowledged their nomination was a mistake and successfully requested their removal from the Academy Award ballot. [source]
The Godfather – Nino Rota’s score was withdrawn after it was learned the music was a reused Fortunella score; replaced by a nomination for Sleuth [source]
As for that fifth slot in the Best Original Song race, it won’t be filled (sorry Lana Del Rey) so 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
For those that never heard the song, here you are.
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