January 29, 2014

OSCARLAND: “Alone Yet Not Alone” Now Really Alone


The Oscars are not the Golden Globes.  That appears to be the underlying message of today’s action by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, revoking the Best Original Song nomination of “Alone Yet Not Alone” from the film of the same name.  (According to The Hollywood Reporter, this is just the 2d disqualification in Oscar history.)  It’s fine enough for the Globes to make snarky jokes about members who barely know what they’re voting for and have half an eye (at least) toward pulling movie stars into their banquet room, but the Academy is above all that.

The controversy over “Alone Yet Not Alone” began the instant its nomination was announced, because no one had ever even heard of the film, let alone the song.  (Apparently it had a very small and unnoticed run last fall, and the technically required 1-week engagement in an LA-area theater, supposedly with a larger release planned for this spring.)  It wasn’t sung by a well-known artist (the singer was the quadriplegic evangelical minister Joni Eareckson Tada), it had no sales, and investigation showed that the film was one made expressly for Christian audiences about a family during the Revolutionary War.  Meanwhile, prominent potential nominees like Taylor Swift and Beyonce were ignored by the voters.

Further investigation showed that the song was written by Bruce Broughton (with Dennis Spiegel).  Broughton happens to be a high Academy official, a former member of the Board of Governors and currently a member of the Music Branch executive committee, and the way the other 239 voting members of the Music Branch heard of the song was because he e-mailed it personally to at least some of them.  Although Broughton claims that he was merely trying to draw attention to the song’s existence against competitors who were infinitely better financed, it had the ugly look of pressure from above, and overall it was an embarrassment to the Academy.  So it had to go.

The Academy will not replace “Alone Yet Not Alone,” leaving 4 nominees left:  “Happy” from Despicable Me 2, “Let It Go” from Frozen, “The Moon Song” from Her, and “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."