Composer is accused of rigging Oscar nominations

Composer is accused of rigging Oscar nominations


norman lebrecht

January 30, 2014

Bruce Broughton, a former governor of the Motion Picture Academy and head of its music branch, had one of the five best original song nominations in this year’s Oscars.

That’s nice, except it was in a movie hardly anyone paid to see. Bruce has been accused of getting his industry pals to boost his vote. The song, Alone Yet Not Alone, has now been struck off. ‘Using one’s position as a former governor and current executive committee member to personally promote one’s own Oscar submission creates the appearance of an unfair advantage,’ said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy President. Statement below.



BEVERLY HILLS, CA — On Tuesday night, the Academy’s Board of Governors voted to rescind the Original Song nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone,” music by Bruce Broughton and lyric by Dennis Spiegel. The decision was prompted by the discovery that Broughton, a former Governor and current Music Branch executive committee member, had emailed members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period.

“No matter how well-intentioned the communication, using one’s position as a former governor and current executive committee member to personally promote one’s own Oscar submission creates the appearance of an unfair advantage,” said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy President.

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.”

An additional nominee in the Original Song category will not be named. The remaining nominees in the category are:

“Happy” from Despicable Me 2

Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams

“Let It Go” from Frozen

Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

“The Moon Song” from Her

Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze

“Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom


  • Mikey says:

    Well, the song itself is absolutely beyond banal.

    it’s a shame however, as Broughton is a film composer I greatly admired.

  • Pete says:


    …Broughton, who is on the executive committee of the Academy’s music branch and was an Academy governor until 2012, argues he hasn’t served as an Academy governor in almost two years, and he never used that influence to gain support. He tells CBS News, “I didn’t ask anybody to vote for it. I didn’t do any promotion about the film. I didn’t do anything that I understood the rules to exclude.”

    There seems to be a thin line between Broughton’s email campaign and the incessant For Your Consideration advertisements studios take out on behalf of their Oscar hopefuls. As noted Oscar columnist Kris Tapley writes on his InContention blog, “If the Academy is going to go after Broughton, ‘then they should start coming after all of us,’ one industry insider not affiliated with any of the nominees and who had no skin in the Best Original Song game this season told me. ‘They should look at everyone and not just wait for someone to forward them an email from a guy who said ‘listen to my song.’ It seems really punitive and over the top.’ Because that’s all that happened here. A guy with contacts sent a few emails asking people to listen to his submission. He hired a firm originally to get the word out but it was drowned out by other campaigns.”