Retraction of Joni's Oscar nomination labeled prejudicial, not professional

Monday, February 3, 2014
 | 
Russ Jones (OneNewsNow.com)

Christian media analyst Ted Baehr believes a double standard is at work in the recent rescission of an Academy Award nomination for a song performed by Christian author and speaker Joni Eareckson Tada.

The decision by Academy Awards officials to rescind the "Original Song" nomination for Alone Yet Not Alone, a film with Christian themes and music by Bruce Broughton, has drawn a lot of media attention because the song was sung by Tada, a quadriplegic who is a prolific author, hosts the radio program "Joni and Friends," and is a member of the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame. (View video below)

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, claims the unprecedented decision to withdraw the nomination was prompted by the discovery that Broughton, a former member of the Academy's Board of Governors 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.

But Dr. Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, explains there was nothing unusual about Broughton's promotional efforts.

Baehr, Ted (Movieguide)"The fact of the matter is that every year I see articles in the LA Times and elsewhere that people like the Weinsteins [owners of an independent film studio] are spending lots of money to manipulate the votes – throwing dinners, throwing parties," he tells OneNewsNow. "I went to a dinner they were at about two weeks ago.

"And then I get [promotional] things all the time [for nominees] like Frozen, which I love," the media monitor continues. "They sent me a beautiful book, they sent me music – they send you everything."

Tada

Baehr, who publishes Movieguide – a guide to movies and entertainment – says it's unfortunate the Academy continues to base its decisions on prejudice rather than excellence.

"Clearly they were looking for an excuse, and clearly there was a big backlash to the fact that this little no-name film got nominated over some of the major writers and producers and talent in Hollywood," states Baehr. "So this was, of course, [indicative] that they were looking for a way to exclude it."

The 22nd Movieguide Faith & Awards Gala will feature Joni Eareckson Tada performing the song at its February 7 event, to be held at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The 2014 Academy Awards will be on March 2.

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