Like David versus Goliath, an upstart Christian film has shocked the world by winning an unlikely victory in the form of an Academy Award nomination. Only this time, the crowds aren’t cheering for David. Instead, mainstream-media Oscar watchers across the nation have blasted the Academy for choosing the hymn-like testament to God’s presence over hits by pop artists like Jay-Z and Taylor Swift. “I can’t figure any of this s— out,” an unnamed competitor told the Hollywood Reporter, or THR, after learning his or her song was beaten out by “Alone Yet Not Alone,” the title song from the faith-themed movie of the same name. “It is difficult to understand why ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ snagged an Oscar nomination over more acclaimed and high-profile competitors,” THR remarked, claiming multiple people whose songs were snubbed by Academy’s music branch wonder how “a song that has been heard by virtually no one outside the branch from a film that hardly anyone has seen” secured an Oscar nomination. Across the country, dozens of Hollywood-watching publications were quick to heap criticism on “Alone Yet Not Alone.” The Wire called the song “the year’s most WTF [what the f—] Oscar nominee,” and Ty Burr of Boston Globe penned a blog post about “Alone Yet Not Alone” titled “The Oscar nomination that stinks to heaven.” “Its inclusion is questionable, and evidence that strides still need to be made when it comes to the Oscar song field,” reads a particularly pointed criticism from the Los Angeles Times.
NewNowNext, a division of Viacom’s LGBT channel LogoTV called it “a clunky song from an obscure Christian movie score” and blasted the movie for having an “anti-gay connection” because of endorsements from Rick Santorum and James Dobson, among others. “It’s crammed with sappy Christian aphorisms,” writes NewNowNext’s Dan Avery of the song, “and over-produced to within an inch of its life.” But it’s not as though the song has no pedigree nor business securing a nomination. As WND reported, “Alone Yet Not Alone” was performed by Christian author, singer and speaker Joni Eareckson Tada and was written by Dennis Spiegel and Bruce Broughton, who had already received an Academy Award nomination for his score for “Silverado” and who boasts nine Emmy Awards for his musical compositions on television. “Songs are highly subjective,” explains George D. Escobar, who served as a producer, co-director and co-writer on the film “Alone Yet Not Alone.” “The fact that some people do not like it is perfectly reasonable and acceptable. Others absolutely love the song. “Comparing ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ against the popularity of other Oscar contenders is natural. But we should also compare it to the message it conveys,” he continued. “It’s the only song that is about God’s faithfulness during our times of affliction and persecution. Most of the other songs are about rebellion and self-reliance. Isn’t it nice to have some contrast in the marketplace?” Escobar also warned critics to beware masking another motive in criticizing the nomination of “Alone Yet Not Alone.” “It shouldn’t matter whether this movie is a ‘Christian film’ or not. That’s equivalent to someone criticizing another movie for being a ‘black film’ or a ‘white film.’ It’s hypocritical to impose a double-standard like that,” Escobar said. “I would ask audiences and critics to give the song fair consideration for its intent within the movie and how it supports the story being told. That’s a key eligibility criteria from the Academy itself.”
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