The war or words surrounding the elimination of an Oscar nomination for original song escalated Saturday (Feb. 1) with both sides issuing statements.
Composer Bruce Broughton, whose emails actions were deemed inappropriate and led to the disqualification of his song “Alone Yet Not Alone,” contends the voting process is not the anonymous one the Academy says it is, that the Academy is misstating the contents of a letter it sends with a DVD screener of eligible songs and finds that Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has had conflicting roles during her 21 years as a governor and paid consultant on Oscar nominees.
At Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which cut the song from the little-seen film of the same title on Wednesday, said in its statement the nominating process is intended to be anonymous and that songwriters and performers are not listed on the DVD. The Academy aims to “prevent favoritism and promote unbiased voting.”
Broughton sent an email to about 70 Music Branch members -- there are 240 in total -- and identified track No. 57 as the one he composed. The Academy states “he took advantage of information that few other potential nominees are privy to. As a former Academy Governor and current member of the Music Branch’s executive committee, Mr. Broughton should have been more cautious about acting in a way that made it appear as if he were taking advantage of his position to exert undue influence.”
The issues Broughton has with the Academy, and he informed them so on Thursday in an email that was made public Saturday, was that the letter accompanying the DVD said, “When making your voting selections, simply select up to five songs in order of your preference. We hope that you will watch the enclosed DVD and use it to better inform your voting decision.”
Furthermore, Broughton takes issue with Issacs' history as a paid consultant on films such as “The King's Speech” and “The Artist” while she was on the board of governors.
“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 asked.
The Academy concluded its statement by saying it “is dedicated to doing everything it can to ensure a level playing field for all potential Oscar contenders -- including those who don’t enjoy the access, knowledge, and influence of a long-standing Academy insider.”