It's been the most interesting, and also controversial nominee on the Oscar ballot, but after controversial campaigning practices, the Academy has rescinded the Best Original Song nomination for the title song from Alone Yet Not Alone.
Nominee and co-songwriter Bruce Broughton raised eyebrows when it was revealed that not only did he formerly serve as an Academy governor (and current executive committee member), but he also sent out emails to voters to make them aware of his song. That's a no-no.
“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 Academy won't name a replacement nominee, which means that Best Original Song will only compete with four contenders (which is actually still up from the 2011 field of two nominees). Those contenders:
- "Happy" from Despicable Me 2
- "Let It Go" from Frozen
- "The Moon Song" from Her
- "Ordinary Love" from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
This exclusion is extremely rare, though not unprecedented. According to Variety's Tim Gray, the 1972 Original Score nomination for The Godfather was rescinded after discover that "key portions had been used in an earlier film, as was the Best Story and Screenplay for 1953's Hondo. Also this interesting tidbit:
Edward Bernds and Elwood Ullman honorably withdrew their nomination for the 1956 “High Society.” They had written a Bowery Boys comedy with that title and figured voters were confused because the Grace Kelly-Cole Porter musical of the same title was also released that year.
Expect religious groups to rally to the defense of the deeply Christian film, particularly since the religious right and heathen Hollywood are always making boogeymen of each other. Certainly, Alone Yet Not Alone partisans could look at Vulture's compendium of Harvey Weinstein's campaign tactics to find that cold-calling voters is a process Weinstein has employed since 1990, though he's never held a position of power within the Academy, which would seem to be the key difference.