A nomination for this year’s best song Oscar has been revoked after it emerged that its composer Bruce Broughton contacted voters.
Bruce Broughton, an ex-Academy governor, is accused of using his position to promote the title song from Alone Yet Not Alone, an independent film with a Christian message.
The Academy said his emails, though “well-intentioned”, had created “the appearance of an unfair advantage”.
In a statement, Bruce Broughton said he was “devastated” by the Academy’s decision.
“I indulged in the simplest grass roots campaign and it went against me when the song started getting attention,” he continued.
“I got taken down by competition that had months of promotion and advertising behind them. I simply asked people to find the song and consider it.”
In its own statement, the Academy said Bruce Broughton’s actions were “inconsistent with the Academy’s promotional regulations”.
The ousted track will not be replaced by another contender, leaving four compositions to compete for this year’s award for best original song.
Many were surprised when Alone Yet Not Alone was nominated on January 16 alongside songs by such established acts as U2, Karen O and Pharrell Williams.
Composed by Bruce Broughton and lyricist Dennis Spiegel, the song is performed by Joni Eareckson Tada, a 64-year-old quadriplegic and evangelical minister with little professional experience.
Concerns were soon raised over how a little-known composition from a relatively obscure film had beaten songs by the likes of Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift.
The movie – a period drama about two sisters captured by American Indians in 18th Century Ohio – has also prompted criticism for its depiction of native Americans.
Bruce Broughton, who was previously Oscar-nominated for his score for 1985 western Silverado, is a member of the Academy’s music branch executive committee.
It is not unprecedented for nominations to be rescinded. In 1973, Nino Rota’s score for The Godfather was disqualified after it was deemed that he had reused music from one of his earlier scores.
The 2014 Academy Awards will be held on March 2 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
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