One month ago, quadriplegic singer Joni Eareckson Tada was on top of the world. Her rendition of the title tune “Alone Yet Not Alone” was nominated for Best Song and she was preparing to sing it at the Oscars. Then the song was disqualified after it was learned that composer Bruce Broughton, a former Oscar governor, had campaigned directly to academy voters during the nomination process.
All of a sudden, Tada really was alone.
Her Oscar dreams turned into a nightmare as the press began attacking Broughton for his dubious dealings and dismissing her film for its overtly Christian values.
Who’s the ultimate victim in all of this?
It’s not “Alone Yet Not Alone,” it’s not Broughton, it’s not even Tada. Those most affected by the song’s disqualification are the tens of millions of people worldwide who won’t get to hear the beauty of her voice during the Oscarcast.
That’s where my personal plea to producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron comes into play: Let Tada sing during the “In Memoriam” tribute on Oscar night!
Naysayers may cry foul because Tada isn’t a famous enough name to feature in this coveted spot and they may have a point. In recent years, that honor has gone to Barbra Streisand (2012), Esperanza Spalding (2011), Celine Dion (2010), James Taylor (2009) and Queen Latifah (2008).
But show me the academy rule that says the singer has to be famous. After all, the average Oscarologist probably can’t tell you who sang the tune in what year, while the everyday viewer likely can’t remember who sang the “In Memoriam” an hour after it airs.
In other words, Oscar night will be filled with famous faces from start to finish. Why not make one very important exception and welcome Tada back to their stage during the telecast? You just know she’d do justice to those we’ve lost throughout the year by giving them a fitting vocal tribute.
Below: Watch Tada sing the title track from “Alone Yet Not Alone” and then cast your ballot using our easy drag-and-drop menu as to which of the four remaining nominees — “Let It Go” (“Frozen“), “Ordinary Love” (“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom“), “The Moon Song” (“Her“) and “Happy” (“Despicable Me 2“) — will win Best Song.