On January 16, 2014, it was announced that “Alone Yet Not Alone” was nominated for Best Original Song by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. The song is from a movie by the same and performed by quadriplegic Christian author and speaker Joni Eareckson Tada.
On January 30, 2014, the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rescinded the Oscar nomination for "Alone Yet Not Alone." According to a press release the board concluded that writer Bruce Broughton "had emailed [some of the other 239] members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period".
Given the fact that people in the movie industry spend millions of dollars promoting their films to members of the Academy with lavish parties and gifts, the rescinding of the nomination could be a blatant example of a response by the industry to those who felt outraged that a Christian song by a Christian artist would be nominated over the likes of a song performed by Taylor Swift (Swift was not involved in all of this).
It is also very telling that the Academy has never rescinded a nomination for this type of offense in light of all the self-promoting that goes on each year. However, it could very well be that the Academy was trying to operate within the guidelines of their own rules.
Through all that has gone on regarding “Alone Yet Not Alone”, one thing stands out to me… the response of Joni Eareckson Tada. In an interview with Christianity Today, she said the following:
“While I can only imagine the disappointment of music writer Bruce Broughton and lyricist Dennis Spiegel in the rescinding of their Oscar nomination, it in no way detracts from either the song's beauty or its message. I was humbled and honored to have been asked to sing it for the film, and was as surprised as anyone when I learned of the song's nomination.
I was grateful for the attention the nomination brought to this worthy song and the inspirational film behind it, as well as to the ongoing work of Joni and Friends to people affected by disabilities. The decision by the Academy to rescind the nomination may well bring even further attention, and I only hope it helps to further extend the message and impact of the song.
Regarding the reasons for the nomination being rescinded, it is not my place to speculate as I have no insights into the workings of the entertainment industry. I was honored to be invited to sing the song and it will always be a treasured experience.”
In an interview, Tada told the Los Angeles Times: "If it was for reasons connected with a faith-based message, it shouldn't surprise us that Hollywood would shun Jesus. Jesus has been shunned by much weedier characters."
Joni Eareckson Tada’s response was humble and extremely Christ-like. It is a response of someone who has been through incredible disappointments in life and knows of the things that are really important. Joni knows Jesus and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings (Philippians 3:10).
I think the greatest takeaway from all of this is the lesson in life exemplified by the grace and humility of Joni Eareckson Tada.
It would be wonderful if we could all be like her because she is like Jesus.
Something to think and pray about …
Afterthought: “Let It Go” from the movie, Frozen, took home the Oscar. In my opinion, this is the song that would have won regardless of the other nominees. But then, that’s really not the point. Ironically, Joni Eareckson Tada lived out the title of the winning song… she “let it go”.