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Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Beyond a snub. It was just a week or so ago that I was congratulating Enthuse Entertainment for its Best Song nomination at the upcoming Oscars. Now, comes this report from the LA Times: Citing direct campaigning that created “the appearance of an unfair advantage,” the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has revoked an Oscar nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone,” the tune from the faith-based movie of the same name that had been nominated for original song.

The academy said that Bruce Broughton, a music branch executive committee member who wrote the song’s music, had emailed members of the branch during the voting period, a rule violation. No new nominee will be named; only four nominees will be eligible for the Oscar.

In a release Wednesday, the academy said the board of governors had made the decision in a vote Tuesday night after concluding that Broughton “had emailed members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period.”

In the statement, academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said the actions were a perception problem, though she stopped short of saying that it actually had led to the song being shortlisted. “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,” she said.

IMHO: This stinks in more ways than one. Filmmakers and artists offering their films “for consideration” for Oscar nominations is nothing new — and, to this observer, all Broughton did was ask Academy voters to beware of his song’s existence and consider it. You can’t help but wonder whether his revocation has less to do with any alleged rules violation than it does accusations that, as Film.com puts it, “The movie is formally endorsed by people like Rick Santorum and anti-gay hate group activists like Dr. James Dobson.” While the movie has nothing whatsoever to do homosexuality, it has also been criticized for presenting a less-than-politically0correct view of Native Americans. Having viewed the film, which is set in the 18th century, I think that it’s actually quite balanced in its take on the conflicts of the time — with the humanity and mistakes of both sides displayed. And, BTW, I’ve met James Dobson. He strikes me as a nice man who is sincere in his beliefs and avoids engaging in name-calling against his opponents. You don’t have to agree with him but labeling him as a hater is, in my view, the sort of exceedingly harsh rhetoric that we should all avoid.
In any event, whether you like the movie and/or the song or not, this incident can’t help but increase and solidify the unfortunate perception that Hollywood has a bias against Christians and Christian-themed films.  Anyway, here’s the song. What do you think?
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Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
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