The movie industry was puzzled and the Christian community delighted when "Alone Yet Not Alone" was nominated for best original song. The song was written by Dennis Spiegel and performed by quadroplegic Christian singer, speaker and author Joni Erickson Tada and was featured in an independent movie about 18th century colonists of the same name. The nomination drew criticism from the Hollywood community that felt that other songs and musicians in more popular films were being excluded.
But emotions regarding the initial nomination were put aside to make way for entirely different feelings when the Academy's Board of Governors rescinded the nomination, saying in a press release:
On Tuesday night, the Academy’s Board of Governors voted to rescind the Original Song nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone,” music by Bruce Broughton and lyric by Dennis Spiegel. The decision was prompted by the discovery that Broughton, a former Governor and current Music Branch executive committee member, had emailed members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period.
"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.
Joni Eareckson Tada gave this statement on her website.
“While I can only imagine the disappointment of music writer Bruce Broughton and lyricist Dennis Spiegel in the rescinding of their Oscar nomination, it in no way detracts from either the song’s beauty or its message. I was humbled and honored to have been asked to sing it for the film, and was as surprised as anyone when I learned of the song’s nomination. I was grateful for the attention the nomination brought to this worthy song and the inspirational film behind it, as well as to the ongoing work of Joni and Friends to people affected by disabilities. The decision by the Academy to rescind the nomination may well bring even further attention, and I only hope it helps to further extend the message and impact of the song. Regarding the reasons for the nomination being rescinded, it is not my place to speculate as I have no insights into the workings of the entertainment industry. I was honored to be invited to sing the song and it will always be a treasured experience.”
The song will not be replaced with another nominee. The other four nominated songs will stand.
Alone Yet Not Alone is scheduled for a limited theatrical release in June.