Oscars 2014: Ex-music branch chief has clear conscience over surprise Best Song nomination

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Eyebrows were raised with both surprise and suspicion yesterday when it was announced that the track “Alone Yet Not Alone” — from a faith-based film of the same name — had gained an Oscar nomination, beating out tunes by both Taylor Swift and Coldplay, among others. The surprise was due to the fact that very few people had heard of either the song or its parent film. The suspicion? That the song’s cowriter Bruce Broughton had used his position as a former chief of the Academy’s music section to egregiously game the voting system and convince people to tick the box for his song.

“This is one of the most exclusive clubs in the world and you can have all the consultants and publicity in the world, but what it really takes is you gotta have friends,” wrote journalist Mike Hammond yesterday in a Deadline piece about the nomination. “Enough of them obviously paid attention and Broughton landed his second-ever Oscar nomination having been previously nominated just once in 1985 for his first major movie, the stirring western score for Silverado.

So what does Broughton himself have to say about the nod for “Alone Yet Not Alone”? Contacted by EW, the composer declared that his conscience was clear with regard to the nomination and denied aggressively campaigning for the track. “It’s nonsense,” he says. “What happens is that the music branch of the academy puts all the songs on a disc and I was concerned that this song would be really easy to overlook. So, yeah, I wrote some people and said, ‘Could you just take a look.’ That was literally the extent of the campaigning. I received in the mail songs from other films that were pressed and recorded CDs. We didn’t do anything like that at all.”

While Broughton remains a member of the music branch executive he says has not been at an Academy meeting of any sort in some time. “I don’t know how many people vote,” he insists. “I don’t know what they vote for. And it’s for sure that Price Waterhouse aren’t going to let me know. Even when I was a governor on the Academy, I didn’t have access to that information.”

Broughton added that he hoped “Alone Yet Not Alone” was nominated because people really liked the song and made clear he wasn’t going to let any raising of eyebrows prompted by its surprise nod spoil his joy at the track being chosen by the Academy. “I have to say I’m pretty excited, I’m pretty stoked,” he enthused. “Yeah, I’m very happy with the whole thing.”

You can check out “Alone Yet Not Alone,” which was cowritten by Dennis Spiegel and is performed by Joni Eareckson Tada, below.

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