Sony/ATV Music Publishing chairman/CEO Martin Bandier has chimed in on the controversy surrounding the elimination of “Alone Yet Not Alone” for an Oscar original song nomination.
In late January, the Academy’s board of governors disqualified Bruce Broughton and Dennis Spiegel’s obscure “Alone Yet Not Alone” after learning that Broughton, a former governor and current Music Branch executive committee member, had emailed members of the branch about the song during the nominations voting period.
In a new letter from Bandier to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, obtained by Deadline.com (read the full text below), the Sony/ATV chairman/CEO expresses his disappointment that current rules don't allow another artist to be replaced as a nominee after another has been disqualified.
"Obviously many people have had much to say about the recent disqualification of the 5 best song nominee. That is neither my area nor my argument," Bandier says in the letter. "However, as an organization whose name celebrates the arts, it is heartbreaking to know that your rules do not allow for the next best artists to be celebrated in the case of a disqualification."
This year, the nominations in the best song category are Pharrell Williams' "Happy" from "Despicable Me 2"; Karen O and Spike Jonze's "The Moon Song" from "Her"; U2's "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"; and Kristen Anderson- Lopez & Robert Lopez “Let It Go” from "Frozen". Read the Billboard cover story about this year's Oscars song nominees here.
Here is the full text of Bandier's letter, as reposted from Deadline.com:
Cheryl Boone Isaacs and members of the Academy
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Dear Ms. Isaacs,
As Chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the world’s largest music publisher, and someone who has long been a songwriter advocate, I feel it is my duty to encourage recognition of songwriters and act as a champion for their fair treatment. Obviously many people have had much to say about the recent disqualification of the 5 best song nominee. That is neither my area nor my argument. However, as an organization whose name celebrates the arts, it is heartbreaking to know that your rules do not allow for the next best artists to be celebrated in the case of a disqualification. On behalf of the thousands of songwriters on our roster, as well as all songwriters across the globe, I would like to formally petition for change in rule to the Best Original Song category (rule 5.7).
The film and music industries are integral in each other’s success. As evidenced by the tributes, musical performances and accompaniments that were featured during the 2013 Academy Awards ceremony, the film industry is an organization that values music’s contribution to the art form and its ability to help shape a scene. From “The Wizard of Oz” and “Meet Me in St. Louis” to “Singing in the Rain” and “Frozen” to the theme songs from “Rocky” and the James Bond movies, music is deeply rooted in a film’s influence and continues to breathe life into it once it is out of theatres. After such a display of appreciation for music last year, it is disheartening to see the Academy, a body that prides itself on fairness, close the door on a possible Oscar contender for Best Original Song.
Throughout its 86 years, the Academy has made amendments to rules that were outdated or unfair. Most recently, the Academy attested to the importance of review by updating regulations across award categories , including Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Documentary Feature.
As with many other American institutions, from the President of the United States to Miss America, the next-in-line or successor is crucial to ensuring that a fair chance is given. We ask that the Academy exercise a similar level of fairness and extend the opportunity for recognition to another deserving songwriter impacting the industry.
I strongly encourage you to, once again, reevaluate the rules in place, specifically 5.7, and give other songwriters the chance to share their voice.
Martin N. Bandier
Chairman & CEO
Sony/ATV Music Publishing