Of all today’s Oscar nominees the one that caused the most head-scratching among pundits and critics was Alone Yet Not Alone.

Say what?

The nominees for Best Song which mostly went to expected contenders like U2 for Mandela‘s “Ordinary Love”, Pharrell Williams for Despicable Me 2‘s “Happy”, Frozen‘s “Let It Go”  from the writers of alone-yet-not-aloneBook Of Mormon, and Karen O and Spike Jonze for The Moon Song”  from Her. But it was the first title read off by Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs that really raised eyebrows. “Alone Yet Not Alone” from, you guessed it, Alone Yet Not Alone with music by Bruce Broughton and lyrics by Dennis Spiegel. (You can hear it in a clip at the bottom).Has anyone actually heard of this film? Or the song which is a musically low key , quite spiritual hymn (hear it below). Probably not. Certainly not Taylor Swift or Coldplay or Celine Dion or Lana Del Rey who were among the artists in contention for a nomination this year but lost out to this. Somehow it snuck in and completed a 7-day qualifying run in September, but, according to the website for the movie, its national release won’t happen until March 14th. It is a Christian film or “faith based” as they are known now. There isn’t a single review of the movie on Rotten Tomatoes (a first for any Oscar-nominated movie in memory). The distributor is listed as Enthuse Entertainment. IMDB describes it as a historical drama based on a true story recounting the “faith and courage” of a German-American immigrant family as they face hardships and loss during the French and Indian war. The music score for the film is by William Ross, who is also conductor of the Academy Awards orchestra this year (as he was last year) and Broughton is a former Governor and former head of the Academy’s music branch.

Related: OSCARS: 75 Original Songs In Contention

bb_portrait3So how did this obscure, yet-to-be-released film starring  Kelly Greyson, Ozzie Torres, Jenn Gotzon, and Clay Walker land a prized Best Song nomination? According to well-placed sources, Broughton hired veteran film music publicist Ray Costa to try and get attention for the song and press releases were written but it gained no real editorial traction during the campaign. So, as a former Governor and head of the music branch he is obviously well-connected and well-liked within the organization and I am told he started making phone calls to colleagues urging them to consider the song.  Call it the most grass roots of campaigns. This is sometimes how the inner workings of these groups operate. This one is one of the most exclusive clubs in the world and you can have all the consultants and publicity in the world, but what it really takes is you gotta have friends. Enough of them obviously paid attention and Broughton landed his second-ever Oscar nomination having been previously nominated just once in 1985 for his first major movie, the stirring western score for Silverado. He is also an 10-time Emmy Winner. Here is the song in its entirety: