UPDATE: The Academy has disqualified “You Are Not Alone” because one of its writers, a former governor and current Music Branch executive committee member, promoted it to voters via email during the nomination period.
When looking over the nominees for Oscar season, we were all tallying our various thumbs-ups (June Squibb in Nebraska!) and thumbs-downs (where’s Frances Ha?), But there was one nominee that left us with a collective “Huh?” That would be Best Original Song candidate “Alone Yet Not Alone,” from the movie of the same name.
It trumped expected nominees like Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift, but you probably haven’t heard of it for a couple key reasons. As Vulture points out, the film has not actually been given any theatrical release (how it was eligible for an Oscar I have no idea). Okay that’s a little weird, but there’s more. The film is about a family captured by Allegheny Indians during the French and Indian War in 1755, and is produced by Enthuse Entertainment, which claims to make “God-honoring, faith based, family friendly films that inspire the human spirit to seek and know God.” Uh, okay? Oh and the movie comes with a Church Study Guide that promises “to guide your group into meaningful discussion and exploration of the themes of Alone Yet Not Alone.”
The trailer (above) gets across the basic plot of the family’s two daughters being kidnapped by the tribe, and having to endure things like “forced marriage” before escaping (as HitFix points out). Almost no one has seen the film yet so it’s hard to comment completely, but judging from everything that is available it’s not reaching to look at a lot of this stuff as problematic at best and really fucking racist at worst. In brighter news the film is co-directed by Ray Bengston whom you might remember as playing White Security Guard #1 in Waist Deep the 2006 action vehicle for the Game and R&B singer Tyrese Gibson, which is actually a pretty sweet movie.
The song can be heard below, performed by evangelical singer Joni Eareckson Tada, famous for writing her autobiography about overcoming being quadriplegic through God. The song is quickly racking up plays on Youtube, but the question still remains how something so obscure and random was nominated. Were some people so touched by the song? Maybe. Is the guy who wrote it also a well-connected former governor of the Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences? OH, YOU DON’T SAY?
Finally to curb any jaded feelings please enjoy the Oscar-nominated “Alone Not Yet Alone” mashed up with the awesome trailer for Waist Deep. You really should see that movie.