The public already has decided on “Alone Yet Not Alone,” the stunning hymn-like Christian song that was nominated for an Oscar, then had that nomination withdrawn because the songwriter emailed acquaintances about it.
Just look at, and listen to, the brand new recording of the melody by singer Kathy Rodriguez.
“Beautiful,” said one commenter when the song was posted just days ago.
And now industry insiders are joining the movement, calling for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to revisit its decision to exclude “Alone” from this year’s awards ceremony.
Academy member John Debney, who scored “The Passion of the Christ” and more movies called it a “grave injustice.”
“The nominations for work in film are meant to be merit based. Finally, a song from a small film barely seen was deemed worth of nomination. That is the way it should work. But alas, the winds of PC and cronyism seem to be at work here.”
His recommendation to friends? “Express your outrage.”
The song’s writer, Bruce Broughton, earlier criticized the Academy decision, noting, “[If] my 70 or so emails constitutes a breach… why could the current Academy president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, consult on Academy Award-nominated projects like ‘The Artist,’ ‘The King’s Speech’ and others with a history as an Academy governor that far exceeds mine and at the same time produce the Governors’ Ball without having that look like a breach of the same standard.”
He’s now finished commenting. A publicist told WND Wednesday that he believes what needs to be said already has been.
Others disagreed, spilling over with words galore on the dispute.
At iPetitions, a page seeking 1,000 signatures in support of Broughton and Dennis Spiegel, who worked with Broughton on the song, already had 1,184 names.
It states, “I want to show my support for Bruce Broughton and Dennis Spiegel and demand that the Board of Governors prove that … other nominations in the 2014 Academy Awards (in any category) ha[ve] not been promoted in ways similar to, or more aggressively, than ‘Alone Yet Not Alone.'”
On the site, Ronald Pulliam said, “Eradicate a bone-headed decision and reinstate the nomination to Mr. Broughton. His emails are nothing compared to the thousands of dollars spent on promoting other films…”
Gerald Molen, the award-winning producer of “Schindler’s List” told Fox News he’d like the Academy to reconsider, “revisit the issue, take a look at all the facts.”
Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. noted that movie studios spend “millions of dollars on parties, ads in Variety, enormous campaigns” without penalty.
“They picked on this film, a faith-based film,” he said.
Broughton has commented that he does not believe the song was targeted because of the film’s faith orientation. But others have said that’s an issue that needs visiting.
The Los Angeles Times asked, “Broughton can’t help that he’s on the branch’s executive committee, and as long as he wasn’t using his status to gin up interest – and, at least in one email in question, no mention is made of his position – then what did he do wrong?”
The report also noted the faith orientation of the movie, and warned, “It may not be long before outlets with a Hollywood-skeptical bent begin making hay of the fact that the academy has never rescinded a nomination due to improper campaigning until a faith-based movie with a quadriplegic pastor came along.”
At the petition site called change.org, the “Artists for Life” are seeking a change in the Academy’s decision.
Director Albert Strong said, “Bruce Broughton has a long and distinguished career which deserves better treatment at the hands of the Motion Picture Academy.”
On the site, Joshua Dugger wrote, “The Academy Awards got it right the first time, they need to re-instate the nomination and stop the anti-Christian bias.”
Added Nora Virrey, “This … does not pass the smell test.”
Other statements that appeared in support of Broughton including Don Davis, who wrote, “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 am AMPAS nomination in its category.”
Insider Bruce Babcock said the rescission “wrongly and shamefully impugns their integrity.”
“Shame on the leadership who participated in this decision,” wrote another insider, Mark Watters. “Convene the appropriate committee and rewrite this woefully incomplete rule immediately.”
A Hollywood Reporter snap poll asking “Which should win best original song?” on Jan. 17 had 56 percent of an audience composed largely of Hollywood watchers choosing “Alone.” A day later it was 71 percent. On the 19th it was 72 percent and on the 20th, 75 percent.
Still not finished, though.
On Jan. 21, 78 percent picked “Alone,” and on Jan. 31, it was 82 percent.
Another poll, from People Magazine, said 63 percent chose “Alone,” with the runnerup, “Let It Go” from “Frozen,” a far distant second with 25 percent.
WND reported earlier that “Alone” this week is getting top billing at another Hollywood awards bash.
Officials with the Movieguide® Awards announced that recording artist Joni Eareckson Tada will perform the song at the Friday awards event, to be held at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.
Movieguide® is an international, nonprofit ministry dedicated to “redeeming the values of the entertainment industry by influencing industry executives and by informing and equipping the public about the influence of the entertainment media.”
Ironically, for many media Oscar watchers including those who originally criticized the nomination of the Christian-themed project, the move by the Academy wasn’t going down well.
Commentator Scott Feinberg at Hollywood Reporter wrote, while he didn’t think the song deserved the nomination above all other candidates, neither did it deserve to have the nomination rescinded.
“Broughton has been very open about the fact that he sent emails during the nominations voting period to some of his 239 fellow members of the Academy’s music branch – yes, the same branch that he represented on the Academy’s board of governors from 2003-2012 – urging them to consider nominating the song,” he wrote.
“I read one of Broughton’s emails and saw no evidence that he had ‘thrown his weight around’ … he merely offered ‘a request ‘For Your Consideration’…,'” he explained.
He pointed out that the Academy members voted for the song, on their own, and the main problem is that the Academy declined to cite which rule was broken by Broughton.
“Just about every individual and every studio with any hope of an Oscar nomination or win – including those with far deeper pockets than ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’s’ backers – campaigns for it, usually far more aggressively than did Broughton,” he said.
His conclusion was that either Broughton’s outreach was innocuous, but the Academy wanted to make an example of him, or it was egregious, but the Academy didn’t want to disclose it.
“Based, though, on what I know about Broughton, and the fact that he has been very open and transparent with the press since his nomination, I would bet on the former. And, if I am right, then I am afraid that – in my humble opinion – the Academy is wrong.”
The San Francisco Chronicle called the Academy’s move “cringe-worthy.”
WND reported earlier that the attitudes when the nomination was announced were different.
“I can’t figure any of this s— out,” an unnamed competitor told the Hollywood Reporter, after learning his or her song was beaten out by “Alone Yet Not Alone.”
“It is difficult to understand why ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ snagged an Oscar nomination over more acclaimed and high-profile competitors,” THR remarked.
As WND reported, “Alone Yet Not Alone” was performed by Tada, a Christian author, singer and speaker, and written by Spiegel and Broughton, who had already received an Academy Award nomination for his score for “Silverado” and who boasts nine Emmy Awards for his musical compositions on television.
“Songs are highly subjective,” explained George Escobar, who served as a producer, co-director and co-writer on the film “Alone Yet Not Alone.” “The fact that some people do not like it is perfectly reasonable and acceptable. Others absolutely love the song.
“Comparing ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ against the popularity of other Oscar contenders is natural. But we should also compare it to the message it conveys,” he continued. “It’s the only song that is about God’s faithfulness during our times of affliction and persecution. Most of the other songs are about rebellion and self-reliance. Isn’t it nice to have some contrast in the marketplace?”
Listen to the original song yourself below:
“Alone Yet Not Alone” had a successful limited release in September, but won’t be introduced to nationwide audiences until this summer.
It is scheduled for nationwide release June 13, 2014.
Escobar, who also serves as WND’s Vice President of Film and Television, is co-founder of the Advent Film Group and has directed several top documentaries for WND Films, including “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” and “The Rabbi Who Found Messiah.”
As WND reported, the film “Alone Yet Not Alone” is based on the true story of a frontier family caught in the throes of the French and Indian War in 1755.
The movie is based a novel of the same name written by Tracy Leininger Craven, which tells the struggles of her ancestors in the mid-1700s when British and French forces were fighting for control of the American continent.
The Leiningers, immigrants from Germany who sought freedom to worship in the New World, began to carve out their homestead farm around Penns Creek at the outskirts of western Pennsylvania. Despite the arduous work, the Leiningers labor joyfully, nourished by God’s promises, which they memorize during their daily reading of the cherished family Bible.
Then the unthinkable happens: In a terrifying raid, Delaware warriors kidnap the two young Leininger daughters, Barbara and Regina, taking them captive hundreds of miles away and adopting them into their native culture. Yet through their captivity and eventual escape, they never lose hope and “their faith becomes their freedom.”
Watch the trailer of the film below: