This year, in an unusual twist, as Christian song was nominated for an Oscar. It was “Alone Yet Not Alone” from the movie by the same title, performed for the film by Joni Eareckson Tada (yes, Joni). However, in an even more unusual twist, last week that nomination was rescinded. The Hollywood Reporter picks up the story:
After its nomination, several songwriters affiliated with other films expressed dissatisfaction with the selection, and a PR firm representing a song not nominated hired a private investigator to research whether Alone Yet Not Alone should be disqualified for not meeting advertising requirements, but the Academy wasn’t convinced on those grounds.
This seems abnormal. Is it common practice for people not nominated for an Oscar to hire private investigators to go through a competitor’s garbage? In the end, the Academy did disqualify the song, ostensibly because the songwriter sent out a letter asking other Academy members to listen to the song. He was not asking for their votes, mind you: He was just asking for them to listen to his song.
The disqualification of the song has led at least one Academy member to accuse the Academy of bigotry:
Gerald Molen, an Oscar-winning producer of Schindler’s List, is accusing the Academy of discriminating against a religious movie in revoking its nomination in the best song category …
“Every film, director, writer, cinematographer, actor, art director, costume designer and efx house finds a way to pitch or promote their work. Many will see this decision as faith-based bigotry pure and simple,” Molen says in the letter to [Academy president] Boone Isaacs.
Indeed. Politicking for a Oscar has become standard operational procedure in Hollywood, and while once or twice award nominations have been rescinded, it has never before happened in regards to a feature length American film. It is hard to believe that anything besides bigotry is at work here.