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Song Shocker

An Oscar nod for a tune written for a Christian movie that made only $134,000 has stirred up a mini-controversy at the Academy

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This year’s contenders for Best Original Song include tracks by all-star tunesmiths such as Bono, who co-penned Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom‘s “Ordinary Love,” and The Book of Mormon co-writer Robert Lopez, who could achieve EGOT status with a win for co-writing Frozen‘s Idina Menzel belter, “Let It Go.” But the category’s biggest surprise is “Alone Yet Not Alone,” a ballad in a little-known, faith-based film of the same name that earned just $134,000 when it was released last September. “Alone,” which beat out tracks by Coldplay (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) and Taylor Swift (One Chance), was co-written by Bruce Broughton, a former governor of the Academy’s 240-member music branch. That’s prompted allegations of cronyism. “It’s nonsense,” says Broughton, whose last term as music-branch governor ended in 2012. “Yeah, I wrote some people and said, ‘Could you just take a look?’ It wasn’t much of a campaign…. I’m hopeful people voted for the song because they liked the song. Period.”