In a world where Woody Allen can get a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes at the same time his adopted daughter accuses him of sexually abusing her when she was a child (Allen has repeatedly denied it), and where a film "The Wolf of Wall Street" sets a record for use of the F-word, it is a wonderment that an obscure, low-budget film called "Alone Yet Not Alone" has had its Best Original Song Oscar nomination withdrawn for allegedly violating ethical rules.
The Los Angeles Times writes that Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, "told The Times that the 'key point' in the academy's nullification of (songwriter Bruce) Broughton's nomination was its violation of Rule 5.3, requiring that the credits of composer and lyricist be removed from the DVD of eligible songs sent to members of the music branch.
"'The idea,' Isaacs says, 'is that people are voting solely for the song and not who wrote it.' By emailing branch members, Broughton, a former academy governor and current member of the music branch's executive committee, violated that anonymity."
Big-budget films spend large amounts of money campaigning for Oscars with full-page ads in Variety and other trade publications, as well as glitzy parties for Academy members. Studios send DVDs "for your consideration" to members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). Is any of that campaigning anonymous? How does a low-budget film with far fewer resources get noticed, if not by campaigning? Why does emailing voters, even if a technicality was breached, violate the rules when splashy ads, parties and the mailing of DVDs to Academy members do not?
One clue may be in the visceral reaction to the film itself from the secular-progressive left. It is a movie made by a Christian group. Despite a record of large profits and high TV ratings for films with a Christian message, they continue to embarrass some filmmakers, who apparently think Americans spend their days swearing at one another, having promiscuous sex, shooting people, blowing up stuff and driving fast.
In a smarmy article on The Daily Beast website titled "Bible Thumpers' Oscar Fail," the film is characterized as having been made by an independent group headed by a "sugar daddy of the religious right" and members of "the right-wing evangelical filmmaking world." Maybe the film should be rated "W" for wholesomeness and its message about God not abandoning people in distress. Does the secular left fear such a film might lead some people to rely on a power higher than the federal government?
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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