Why is this Best Song nominee from an obscure, faith-based movie still so compelling? Well, for one thing, a private investigator just got involved.
If you've already forgotten what the deal is with Alone Yet Not Alone, here's a recap: The eponymous song, sung by a quadriplegic evangelical woman, from a movie about a family during the French and Indian War, received a nomination for Best Original Song, despite the fact that pretty much nobody had ever heard of it. Nominated alongside the likes of Frozen's "Let It Go," U2's contribution to the Mandela biopic, Pharrell's ditty from Despicable Me 2, and Karen O's Her tune, "Alone Yet Not Alone" beat out the likes of Lana Del Rey's contribution to The Great Gatsby and Taylor Swift's song from One Chance.
One of the first things about the surprise nominee to raise eyebrows was the fact that the song's composer, Bruce Broughton, has Academy connections: he's been an Academy governor, and has even headed the music branch. After the nomination, Pete Hammond explained at Deadline that Broughton hired a "veteran film music publicist" to promote the song. When that wasn't really working, he "started making phone calls to colleagues urging them to consider the song."
And now, according to Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter, the contenders left in Alone Yet Not Alone's wake are not sitting quietly. Feinberg reported that a PR firm representing one of the songs that didn't get a nomination hired a private investigator to determine whether the song was eligible. The PI looked into whether the movie flouted the Academy's rule which states that a movie must be "advertised and exploited during its Los Angeles County qualifying run in print media." Although, in an email to the investigator (posing as a researcher), Alone's PR firm said the producers "did not purchase any advertising" for the qualifying run in L.A., the Academy stood by its qualification. Why? The movie theater where it was running advertised the movie's screening times and a "showtime listing meets our eligibility requirements."
So while Alone Yet Not Alone's song remains in the race for now, its fair to say, we think, that Best Original Song is officially the weirdest race of the Oscar season. Remember back in December when there was an unsuccessful sabotage campaign aimed at Lana Del Rey's "Young and Beautiful?"