Bruce Broughton claims Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs has conflicts of interest
Disqualified Oscar nominee Bruce Broughton hit back at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Monday after his work composing the title track to “Alone Yet Not Alone” was stripped of its nomination last week, calling the decision on the song’s eligibility “stupid and hypocritical.”
Broughton, a former governor of the Academy’s Music Branch and head of the branch’s executive committee for four years, got in trouble for illegal campaigning tactics after he emailed voters in the branch to bring attention to the song, the title track to a little-known Christian historical drama that played for one week in Encino but is not scheduled to open until this summer.
However, in an open letter he claims that his tactics were not in violation of any ethical standards, and notes that Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs has conflicts of interest from her work as a film marketing executive on past Oscar contenders.
(Isaacs, a member of the Academy’s Public Relations Branch, served as a consultant on Oscar campaigns while on the board, but has halted all campaign work while serving as president.)
“If, as you quote the Academy’s rules, ‘it is the Academy’s goal to ensure that the Awards competition is conducted in a fair and ethical manner,’ and my 70 or so emails constitutes a breach of that standard, why could the current Academy president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, consult on Academy Award nominated projects like ‘The Artist,’ ‘The King’s Speech’ and others with a history as an Academy governor that far exceeds mine and at the same time produce the Governors’ Ball without having that look like a breach of the same standard?” Broughton writes.
On Saturday, the Academy issued a statement in which it explained that the judging process for the original song category is meant to be anonymous, with voters given a DVD with film clips, along with a sheet listing the names of songs and the movies they come from, but not the names of their composers. In an email sent to at least 70 of the branch’s voters, Broughton allegedly brought attention to the fact that he had co-written entry No. 57 on the list of entries, which the Academy said violates its rules.
A spokesman for the Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Broughton’s letter.
Here’s the full text of the letter from Broughton to the Academy’s communications director Teri Melidonian and CEO Dawn Hudson:
I just looked at the Academy release of the rescinding of the nomination and came upon this line in the penultimate paragraph: “Members were asked to watch the clips and then vote in the order of their preference for not more than five nominees in the category.” This isn’t at all accurate.
What the letter that Charlie Fox sent to accompany the DVD actually said was: “When making your voting selections, simply select up to five songs in order of your preference. We hope that you will watch (italics mine) the enclosed DVD and use it to better inform your voting decision.”
Based upon that italicized phrase, I decided to send some emails.
Furthermore, if, as you quote the Academy’s rules, “it is the Academy’s goal to ensure that the Awards competition is conducted in a fair and ethical manner,” and my 70 or so emails constitutes a breach of that standard, why could the current Academy president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, consult on Academy Award nominated projects like The Artist, The King’s Speech and others with a history as an Academy governor that far exceeds mine and at the same time produce the Governors’ Ball without having that look like a breach of the same standard?
I am of course copying Dawn Hudson on this email, and would have included Cheryl if I had had her email address.