The Academy Awards are nearly upon us, and media outlets everywhere are buzzing with predictions, opinions, and in some cases, outrage. Most of the hard feelings stem from actors who were snubbed (neither Tom Hanks nor Emma Thompson were nominated for their respective roles in Captain Phillips or Saving Mr. Banks), but a recent addition for Best Song has some critics scratching their heads. According to WORLD magazine's Jeff Koch, an independent Christian film by the name of Alone But Not Alone will be squaring off against other Oscar hopefuls after edging out several mainstream competitors. The majority of confusion surrounds the movie itself; Alone But Not Alone had a limited seven-day release in September and didn't even garner a single review on RottenTomatoes.com. However, Koch believes much of the public's negativity stems from a different source.
“Other journalists are not just confused but crying foul. They imply the nomination was procured through influence rather than merit, pointing to the position of the film’s musicians: 10-time Emmy winner Bruce Broughton composed the music, and until 2012 served as a ‘governor’ for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He also specifically headed up the academy’s music branch for several years. William Ross, who is the conductor for this year’s Academy Awards orchestra, composed the film’s overall score. (He also led the orchestra last year.)”
Despite these accusations, the film's producer, Ken Wales, sees the nomination as a gift from God. As for the movie itself, Alone But Not Alone tells the story of two young girls alive during the French and Indian War. The film possesses many themes of hope, grace, and family, emphasized by scenes where the Bible is read aloud to characters. The song, which carries the same name and is performed by Christian speaker Joni Eareckson-Tada, combines the styles of old and modern hymns. It's encouraging news for Christian audiences, but the race is still far from won.
Right now the other nominees for Best Song include selections from Despicable Me 2, Her, and Mandela, but the real front runner is the icy anthem "Let It Go" from Disney’s Frozen. This should prove interesting, as WORLD also interviewed Disney animator Mark Henn, who used the opportunity to speak about his faith.
“I’m very blessed… This has been my boyhood dream to be a Disney animator. I’ve seen a lot of change and a lot of ups and downs. I was almost fired at one point. God has been incredibly gracious to allow me to be here, and I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be. In the minutiae—it’s those daily struggles—you’re fighting a scene, the same things everyone deals with. He’s gotten me through many a tough day and tough scene and tough production schedule. It’s nice to work for a company—we’re not a church organization or a faith-based organization—but the basic values we want to put across in our films are right in line with my faith.”
The Oscars are set to air March 2, 2014. To learn what we thought of this year's nominated films, just visit the Movie channel at Crosswalk.com, and stay tuned for our upcoming list of “The Best Movies of 2013."