Joni Eareckson Tada is an incredibly inspirational person. I was shocked and pleased to see that the song she sang “Alone Yet Not Alone” from a movie of the same title has been given an Oscar nomination.
The “Alone Yet Not Alone” story is one I remember reading in school– a true story about a German frontier family in the 18th century who were separated by the violence of the forest and later reunited because of a song.
But back to the Oscar nomination– angry liberals on the Left Coast are furious that a song from a movie endorsed by conservative Christians could possibly get such an honor. Ridiculous, right?!
Update (Jan. 21): Joni Eareckson Tada is just as surprised as everyone else.
“This is something that happens to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood, not me,” she toldThe Hollywood Reporter, before noting:
The God of the Bible delights in using ill-equipped, unskilled and untrained people in positions of great influence, everyone from Joseph to David. It’s all to show that it’s not by human prowess or brassiness, but all by God’s design. I don’t know if that’s what he’s doing here, but it’s worth giving pause and considering.
A Hollywood nod to a Christian film has come as a shock to the entertainment world, as the song “Alone Yet Not Alone” (from the movie by the same name) was nominated for an Oscar.
The song beat out Coldplay, Taylor Swift, and Lana Del Ray to join the other four nominees for best original song: Frozen’s “Let it Go”; U2’s “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; Pharrell Williams’s “Happy” from Despicable Me 2; and Karen O’s “The Moon Song” from Her.
What’s more surprising, however, may be the person who performed the song in the end credits: Joni Eareckson Tada, quadriplegic Christian author and speaker, and one of CT’s “50 Women You Should Know.” (A video of Tada singing the song is below.)
The Los Angeles Times reports the song may have been nominated because it played a crucial, recurring role in the film. Bruce Broughton, a winner of multiple Emmy awards and a previous Oscar nominee (Silverado), was one of the composers.
Broughton also is a previous music branch governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as well as a chair of the music branch. (Deadlineclaims Broughton made phone calls to his connections within the academy to consider the song). William Ross, composer of the film’s score, has been a past music director for the Academy Awards as well.
Vanity Fairinterviewed Broughton, who said, “I am not known as a songwriter—most composers don’t get a chance to write songs. Because it is a faith-based film, it is probably the first one of its sort to get a nomination. And because it is for my song, it is particularly sweet.”
The nomination has received negative reactions not for its quality, but for the film’s endorsements by James Dobson, Rick Santorum, and Josh Dugger, executive director of Family Resource Council Action, among others. Film.com framed the movie as endorsed by “anti-gay hate group activists,” while the Boston Globe headline reads, “The Oscar nomination that stinks to heaven.” Hitflixwrites: “There were audible gasps and chuckles when Cheryl Boone Isaacs began reading the list of nominees in the category, and first off the bat was “Alone Yet Not Alone” from, er, Alone Yet Not Alone…It doesn’t seem a stretch to call this Christian drama the most obscure feature film nominated for an Oscar this year.”
But Ken Wales, one of the producers of the film, told CT that the nomination comes “by the grace of God,” and that regardless of the outcome, “to God be the glory.” Wales, who also produced Amazing Grace—the acclaimed film about William Wilberforce—as well as Christy—a mid-90s TV show—said the song will be performed live during the March 2 Academy Awards event.
The film, based on the book by Tracy Leininger Craven, recounts the story of a German family immigrating to America in mid-1700s.
In 2010, CT discussedAlone Yet Not Alone as a film that “recognizes the power of hymns,” specifically in reference to the Oscar-nominated song. The film will be released in theaters nationwide this June.
CT regularly reports on the Oscars and Christian films, including why a Christian film received an R-rating.
CT also interviewed Tada and her husband about their marriage following the release of the couple’s book, Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story.
Additional reporting by CT editor-at-large Mark Moring.
Below is a video of Tada performing the Oscar-nominated song:
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