Academy clarifies its stance regarding “Alone Yet Not Alone”

The Board of Governors’ decision to rescind the Original Song nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone,” music by Bruce Broughton, was made thoughtfully and after careful consideration.  The Academy takes very seriously anything that undermines the integrity of the Oscars® voting process. The Board regretfully concluded that Mr. Broughton’s actions did precisely that.

 

The nominating process for Original Song is intended to be anonymous, with each eligible song listed only by title and the name of the film in which it is used—the idea being to prevent favoritism and promote unbiased voting.  It’s been a long-standing policy and practice of the Academy—as well as a requirement of Rule 5.3 of the 86th Academy Awards® Rules—­­to omit composer and lyricist credits from the DVD of eligible songs that are sent to members of the Music Branch.  The Academy wants members to vote for nominees based solely on the achievement of a particular song in a movie, without regard to who may have written it.

 

Mr. Broughton sent an email to at least 70 of his fellow Music Branch members—nearly one-third of the branch’s 240 members.  When he identified the song as track #57 as one he had composed, and asked voting branch members to listen to it, he took advantage of information that few other potential nominees are privy to.  As a former Academy Governor and current member of the Music Branch’s executive committee, Mr. Broughton should have been more cautious about acting in a way that made it appear as if he were taking advantage of his position to exert undue influence. At a minimum, his actions called into question whether the process was “fair and equitable,” as the Academy’s rules require. The Academy is dedicated to doing everything it can to ensure a level playing field for all potential Oscar® contenders—including those who don’t enjoy the access, knowledge, and influence of a long-standing Academy insider.

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22 Comments on this Post

  1. “The Academy takes very seriously anything that undermines the integrity of the Oscars® voting process.”

    Bruce Broughton sent an inappropriate email but then a big part of the branch voted his song and it was nominated. So, if the Academy wants to fight what undermines the integrity of the Oscars voting process maybe the Academy should defend the reputation of the members who vote, because the whole story implies that members where “corrupted” by this email and unfairly gave a vote to a song improperly pushed. And also, no member inside the branch understood it was receiving an unfair “advertisement” and denounced it to the board? No one inside the Academy had the knowledge of what was happening before the nominees were announced?
    I find the whole thing hypocritical and stupid.

  2. Lana del Rae should have been nominated for Young & Beautiful.

  3. “It’s been a long-standing policy and practice of the Academy­ to omit composer and lyricist credits”

    Wow, the voters must have been REALLY surprised when they found out that Ordinary Love was from U2

  4. I’m glad they canceled the nomination regardless of the process it took to get there. It was biased promotion bottomline. Too bad they could not bring up the sixth placer to the ballot. Maybe Lana Del Rey? She should have been the frontrunner for the whole category. Best film song of the year.

  5. I hope Cheryl Boone Isaacs steps down as President. What an embarrassing decision on her part! To deny someone a nomination because of the way he campaigned? Sounds very fishy and unrealistic. If that’s the case, punish the bigger, multi-million dollar campaigns that include throwing parties and back handshakes. Punish Ben Affleck’s whole ordeal last year to win an unjustified Best Picture award. This was a very harsh decision, and Ms. Cheryl proves to me why women sometimes should NOT be allowed to have such a position of power. I am not being irrational when I say this, but you wouldn’t have had this happen had this been a man. And the fact that she’s African American too- SHAME on you sister! You should know what it’s like to struggle in the industry, as this small film’s budget showcased. The whole thing is disgusting.

  6. This was a very harsh decision, and Ms. Cheryl proves to me why women sometimes should NOT be allowed to have such a position of power.

    Since this gross comment smells so much like something a troll would say, I think it’s ok for me to point out that another well-known reader has signed in with a fake ID to post this crude opinion.

    See, this is this slimy crap that goes on when people try to flaunt the rules. They hope nobody notices. Lots of times they break the rules and get off scot-free. But other times someone will notice the slimy behavior and speak up.

    I could delete the comment because it does violate a vague Awards Daily rule that frowns upon AD readers using fake IDs to hide behind stupid remarks. But in this case we’ll let it hang out there like a raw red monkey’s ass so everybody can be reminded that we do pay attention to shenanigans like this. We don’t put up with it.

    Ordinarily this reader is on best behavior and is well-liked around here. So I won’t tarnish that reputation.

    But this is a great example of somebody making a tactical blunder and hoping to get away with sneaky prohibited behavior.

    I am not being irrational when I say this, but you wouldn’t have had this happen had this been a man.

    No, “Ed” — What men like you and Broughton sometimes do is try to SNEAK around and use shitty judgement to serve their own ulterior motives.

  7. @Ryan: Sorry if my political statement upsets you, but I am only going based on the evidence at hand: Cheryl is a beautiful woman, but considering the fact that she IS indeed a woman, comes from the marketing and PR world- this decision was poor judgment. The fact that the story has made HEADLINES including the LA Times shows that Broughton is getting sympathy and this should be taken to court. It is not fair to withdraw a nomination based on ethical judgment. If it wasn’t in the rule book, then punish Broughton by not inviting him to the ceremony (ala Hurt Locker incident in 2009). But take away his nomination? Horrible.

  8. And also, no member inside the branch understood it was receiving an unfair “advertisement” and denounced it to the board? No one inside the Academy had the knowledge of what was happening before the nominees were announced?

    Akumax, you’re making a false assumption. Obviously SOMEBODY — at least one person, maybe more — understood what was happening. Otherwise how would the existence of 70 private emails ever come to light, right?

    Here’s one scenario. One of the 70 people who got the email reads the email and immediately knows it’s wrong. So he might get another with another friend in the music branch.

    Academy member 1: “I got this email from Bruce Broughton…”
    Academy member 2: “I got it too.”
    Academy member 1: “I don’t much appreciate being approached like this.”
    Academy member 2: “Agree, it’s fishy. But no real harm done, right? Poor guy. That movie really sucked.”
    Academy member 1: “I actually liked the movie and the song was alright. That doesn’t justify the email.”
    Academy member 2: “So… what should we do?”
    Academy member 1: “I dunno. Hate to narc on the guy. Let’s see what happens.”
    Academy member 2: “Alright. I mean, email or not, I don’t see how that song gets nominated.”
    Academy member 1: “Maybe, maybe not. But if it does then I’m going to have a ethical dilemma to deal with.”

    Akumax, are those two reactions impossible to fathom. I know you can concede something like this might have happened, right?

    The Academy is not prepared with a S.W.A.T team ready to descend on bad behavior at a moments notice. They have to consider all the angles, speak to all the parties involved, hold meeting, vote on decisions for action, yes?

    This is America. Here’s an example of how justice works in America: 3 Years ago a student on the swim team at the University of Missouri was raped. She reported the rape to school officials. Dozens of people knew about it…

    …4 days ago, the University of Missouri finally opened an investigation into that rape. 3 Years after the rape occurred. 2 years after the rape victim committed suicide.

    So that’s a rape. Investigated 3 years after it occurred, in spite of highly-publicized campus protests at the University of Missouri for months and months.

    Is it really inconceivable that many of the 70 recipients of Broughton’s email knew it was wrong, talked about it within the Academy’s inner circle, someone obviously did notify the Board of Governors — and within days the Board of Governors took action — but only AFTER it was clear the emails might have had an effect?

    (where’s Koles? hey, Koles, before you curse at me and call me names for 5 hours, let me guarantee you that I’m not trying to say the Best Song Oscar is the same thing as rape, ok?)

  9. “Ed” — of course you’re free to think whatever you want.

    But if you think it’s a “political statement” to claim that women in positions of power make bad decisions and men in the same position would be smarter — if that’s your idea of a “political statement” then I pity you, dude, I pity you.

    What men in positions of power often do is sit on their hands to protect other male members of the boys club.

    Want to praise the impeccable integrity of a man in a position of power? Look at Chris Christie. It took a female mayor to expose the illegal activities of a male bully abusing his power.

    Please go back to using your other ID. I like that person.

  10. Sorry, I guess my statement was a little heated. I AM heated about this whole ordeal. I don’t mean to disrespect women in positions of power. Just in this particular incidence, it seems Cheryl is not utilizing her expertise wisely. And I personally believe (based on the MANY women directors I’ve worked with), women tend to act on emotional instincts more then men. But again, wasn’t trying to make anyone angry.

    I do hope Broughton gets his Best Song nomination back, as he was rightfully nominated and that was a cruel thing to do.

  11. Joshua G

    All the sexist garbage aside, calling it a deserved nomination is silly. Throw out the voting process, the nomination process, and all the other crap. Listen to the song. It is a pile of crap. I apologize if I make anyone angry. I’m a man, but I guess occasionally I make emotionally rash decisions.

  12. Ryan,

    the scenario is plausible and I agree on what you say. I didn’t express myself very good putting a lot of things together.
    My questions were something like a direct plausible reaction to the Academy response. I just think is a case of solutions worse than the problem. I say that the Academy, with its response, implied that more than a few members of the music branch (240) were willing to vote for a song not properly brought to the attention of the branch. Because the song resulted as one of the 5 nominees we know for a fact that it received enough votes but we don’t know which votes are in for the quality of the song and which are in because of the email. When I say that the Academy should defend the reputation of its voting members I mean that once the song was nominated and without a proved case of fraud a disqualification of the song just means that the Academy doesn’t trust the judgment of the voting members of the music branch.
    In my opinion the Academy should have behaved like they did with “The Hurt Locker” producer. They didn’t disqualify the film, they sanctioned the producer that sent the emails, not inviting him to the ceremony (I think he won the Oscar, he just couldn’t come and get the statuette).
    Bruce Broughton behaved poorly (fact) but we cannot know if that behavior influenced the voting process, and how much. Sanction him I say, but don’t imply the voting members did vote for that song because of the wrong email. Otherwise I can think that Avatar didn’t win best picture because the guy for the Hurt locker said to members “put avatar at the bottom of the ballot”.

  13. Akumax, very well-reasoned reply. If Bruce Broughton wanted to pursue this with a lawsuit he’d be lucky to have you on his legal team.

  14. Ryan,

    are you ironic, right?! : )

    some of my English thoughts don’t even make sense to myself.

  15. ironical

  16. I’m surprised nobody’s jumped on this one:

    “The Academy is dedicated to doing everything it can to ensure a level playing field for all potential Oscar contenders.”

    BAHAHA! This is hilarious! And what is the Academy doing to limit overblown campaign spending, stop smear campaigns, and bring exposure to the indie films and the rising directors and actors that almost always get passed over? Level playing field, ok.

  17. Brainypirate

    I just want to make sure I understand the issue. Broughton specifically contacting the voting members to promote his song is the problem–correct?–since no other potential nominees would have access to the names–much less the contact info–of the voters. Yes?

    I understand this as saying that campaigning in and of itself isn’t the problem, but that using one’s special access to the voters creates a conflict of interest.

  18. Brainypirate

    Oops — I see now that it was also him outing himself as co-writer. Were the 70 folks simply friends of his? It still seems fishy to me that he could use his knowledge of who is in the Branch to do the campaign.

  19. alan of montreal

    @Brainypirate–he was a past president or something of that particular branch of the academy, from what i understand, so that’s how he not only had access to, but some undue influence over the votes.

    I am so glad this song got pulled. After reading the description of the film, I was a bit dosgusted that such colonialist racist garbage disguised as Christian historical cinema was getting any accolades sent its way.

  20. What about a situation where Cate Blanchett calling up her distinguished AMPAS Aussie mates over the phone (Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, Geoffrey Rush, Hugh Jackman, Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Jacki Weaver, Mel Gibson, Baz Luhrmann, etc) and say, “Hey, can you vote for me?”

    Should Cate have been disqualified?

  21. DON DAVIS’ PETITION STATEMENT:
    Reinstate the Original Song Nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone”

    We object to the rescinding of the Original Song Nomination by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors for the song “Alone Yet Not Alone.” As members of the AMPAS Music Branch, we consider this act an usurpation of our rights as voters, and we demand that this nomination be reinstated.

    “Alone Yet Not Alone” was eligible by all of AMPAS applicable rules and regulations. Any personal correspondence some of us may have received from the artists involved was miniscule in comparison to the deluge of email, print and recorded promotion that we received from every studio production for every possible nomination. It should be noted that there was no studio promotion for this film or the song nomination whatsoever, and that the song did appear on the official AMPAS DVD that was sent to each of us for consideration along with every other eligible song. The act of rescinding this nomination had no consideration for the artistic merit of the song in question, and as such is an insult to those of us who were asked to consider the artistic merit of each song and found “Alone Yet Not Alone” to be fully worthy of an AMPAS nomination in its category. The revoking of this nomination is wrong, and we demand that the Board of Governors reverse this unjust decision.

    – Don Davis

  22. Slightly unrelated but missing on the right for the nominees for Original Score is Alexandre Desplat for Philomena.

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