If you were baffled by today’s Oscar nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone”—a.k.a. “The Theme From Alone Yet Not Alone”—you were, indeed, alone, yet also not alone. The nod for a song from a movie that not only hasn’t appeared on any prior awards lists, but pretty much hasn’t appeared anywhere near a theater, left plenty of people baffled, and sent them digging for any information they could find on this year’s biggest surprise besides Tom Hanks not getting nominated for anything. And while they soon discovered there’s not much of Alone Yet Not Alone on the Internet, it turns out they should have been doing an intense search… of their souls.
That’s because Alone Yet Not Alone is the product of Enthuse Entertainment, a company that devotes itself to “God-honoring, faith-based, family-friendly films that inspire the human spirit to seek and know God.” And because, as Rick Santorum recently alerted us, the devil has a hold on the nation’s movie screens, it didn’t see much of a release—just a short, albeit Oscar-qualifying run in October. Nevertheless, Alone was one of the biggest movies in the country in its opening weekend, according to a press release posted to JustLoveMovies.com. At least, in terms of per-screen average… when you also factor in pre-sales from obscure ticket reservation site Seatzy (which most box-office reporting agencies don’t). That made Alone Yet Not Alone “one of the highest per screen average independently released faith-based films to date,” a blurb that can now be replace on DVDs with the far more succinct, though every bit as impressive, “Academy Award-nominated.”
For those who didn’t contribute to Alone Yet Not Alone’s impressive-with-some-qualifications theatrical haul, the film’s official website fills in some blanks. Directed by Ray Bengston (known for playing “White Security Guard” in the Tyrese Gibson actioner Waist Deep) from a novel by Tracy Leininger Craven (who completed its first draft when she was just 9 years old), Alone Yet Not Alone tells “the inspiring true story” of Craven’s ancestors, who fled from Germany to America to escape religious persecution, only to find themselves in the midst of the French & Indian War—and have their two daughters kidnapped and forced into marriage by a Delaware tribe. Still, the hardships of frontier life and the “attempt to indoctrinate them into native culture” are just the price the family pays for “their freedom to worship,” and throughout it all they “never lose the song of their heart.”
And now, much as it uplifted a family whose daughters were abducted by “savages,” that “song of their heart” has also uplifted the profile of Alone Yet Not Alone, which few outside the Christian movie market had ever heard of before today. That is, unless you were a member of the Academy: As Deadline reports, the song’s co-songwriter, Silverado composer Bruce Broughton, is a former Governor of the Academy and a former head of its music branch; meanwhile, the man behind the film’s score, William Ross, is conductor of the Oscar ceremony’s orchestra this year, just as he was last year.
Their “most grass roots of campaigns,” as Deadline puts it, involved Broughton making personal calls to their many well-placed friends within the Academy, urging voters to consider honoring his song before some of the many other short-listed contenders by the likes of Coldplay and Lana Del Rey. And so, like a family putting all its faith in the fact that godliness would prevail on the frontier—with the help of some heavy artillery—the Academy put its faith in Broughton, and Alone Yet Not Alone saw yet another miracle. Truly, God works in mysterious ways.
Anyway, here’s the song in question, as performed by quadriplegic author and evangelist Joni Eareckson Tada. And in knowing it, now you may also accept it into your own heart.