The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences has revoked a nomination in the best original song category for Alone Yet Not Alone, after the songwriter violated Oscar rules and emailed voters about submitting the song for consideration.
Musician Bruce Broughton, a former Academy governor and executive committee member in its music branch, composed the title song from the independent Christian faith movie Alone Yet Not Alone.
The Academy said today that Broughton had used his position within the organisation to contact voters about his own submission of the song, which was "inconsistent" with the Academy's rules on Oscar nominations campaigning.
"No matter how well-intentioned the communication, using one's position as a former governor and current executive committee member to personally promote one's own Oscar submission creates the appearance of an unfair advantage," Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy president, said in a statement.
Broughton said in a statement he was "devastated" at the Academy's decision.
"I indulged in the simplest grass roots campaign and it went against me when the song started getting attention. I got taken down by competition that had months of promotion and advertising behind them. I simply asked people to find the song and consider it," the musician said.
The remaining contenders in the category are Pharrell Williams' Happy from Despicable Me 2, Let It Go from Disney film Frozen, The Moon Song from Her, and Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
After the Oscar nominations were announced on January 17, The Hollywood Reporter said numerous contenders in the original songs long-list questioned how Broughton's little-known composition from an equally little-known film had beaten out songs by more popular artists on bigger films.
The original song and score categories of the Oscars are voted for by the 240 members of the Academy's music branch, who are sent DVD copies of song clips with the film and song title only, the Academy said. The voters are not given the name of the composer or lyricist. Each member is asked to vote for no more than five nominees in each category.
The film industry's star-studded Oscars ceremony will be held on March 2 (March 3, NZ time) in Hollywood.