Oscars update rules to avoid another disqualification

On Tuesday, the academy’s Board of Governors brought in a new rule for this year’s Oscars that is aimed at preventing another embarassing disqualification.

Last year, a brouhaha erupted after Bruce Broughton — a one-time governor (2003 – 2012) and current executive committee member — emailed other members of the music branch during the nomination period to bring his title track “Alone Yet Not Alone” to their attention. His lobbying must have worked as this tune, heard in a little-seen film, reaped a Best Song bid. 

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Broughton, who lost his 1985 Score bid for “Silverado” to John Barry for “Out of Africa,” penned this tune with lyricist Dennis Spiegel for a Christian film that focused on the hardships facing 18th century settlers in the Ohio Valley. Evangelical minister Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadripilegic due to a 1967 diving accident, sang the song in the little-seen film.   

As per the academy statement at the time of the disqualification: 

“The board determined that Broughton’s actions were inconsistent with the Academy’s promotional regulations, which provide, among other terms, that ‘it is the Academy’s goal to ensure that the awards competition is conducted in a fair and ethical manner. If any campaign activity is determined by the board of governors to work in opposition to that goal, whether or not anticipated by these regulations, the board of governors may take any corrective actions or assess any penalties that in its discretion it deems necessary to protect the reputation and integrity of the awards process.'”

Going forward, no members of the music branch will be allowed to contact their brethren “to promote the nomination of their song in any way.” In addition, branch members are forbidden from attending any stand-alone performances of nominated songs; however, such renditions will be allowed if they are accompanied by a screening of the films from whence they came. 

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