Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?
The Academy Awards are no stranger to controversy. From as far back as Bette Davis’ infamous snub to the La La Land fumble, mistakes keep happening. The press, as usual, has milked these mistakes to most of their ability. Most of the time at least. Because very few people stopped to think about the snub that wasn’t supposed to happen.
In the summer of 2013, a little movie by the name of The Great Gatsby came out. With Leonardo DiCaprio’s prowess, the film went on to become a box office success and won two Academy Awards. Although, of course, it could’ve won more.
One of the songs recorded for the soundtrack is an orchestral ballad by the name of Young And Beautiful. Recorded by Lana Del Rey, the song was a commercial success, by Del Rey’s standards at least. Amongst critics, the song received rave reviews, with many questioning as to why Del Rey gave away one of the best songs of her career to a soundtrack. Regardless, as a critical and commercial success, the song was considered a hit.
Come to December, and the song is a strong candidate for a Best Song nomination for the Academy Awards. Having already received nominations for the Critic’s Choice Awards and, more importantly, a Grammy nod for best song written for visual media, an Oscar nod was a very real possibility. That was until the nominations were released.
Missing from the list is Young And Beautiful, and instead, we have an unknown track from a low budget independent film by the name of Alone Yet Not Alone. Composed by Bruce Broughton, the mysterious track began raising eyebrows. Almost as soon the as the track caught attention, it disappeared as the Academy revoked its nomination. Given that the revoking of a nomination was extremely rare, it was clear that something happened behind the curtains.
The story soon emerged, and it wasn’t a nice one. According to reports, a mysterious envelope was sent to various Academy members with a detailed explanation as to why Del Rey’s somber tune was not eligible for a nomination, along with a fabricated Variety article claiming a technical error with The Great Gatsby’s release date. How the members believed this is still a big question.
In addition to that, Broughton personally sent envelopes to multiple members ‘requesting’ them to consider the song. Given that, at the time, he was an executive member of the music branch, its safe to assume that ‘request’ was really an order. By the time the Academy realized its error, it immediately revoked the nomination, but it was too late. It’s all but confirmed that Broughton sent the previous round of envelopes attacking Young And Beautiful’s Oscar bid.
It’s not like it was a complete disaster. The song didn’t need an Oscar nomination for it to be memorialized as one of the most glamorous and fatalistic singles of the decade. Lana also couldn’t care less, as she worked to perfect her 2014 release Ultraviolence, which would only solidify her as the queen of Alternative. Her song Big Eyes for the movie of the same name would once again be rejected by the Oscars but would make it to the shortlist. I guess this is just me wanting a four-minute song from 2013 to receive the credit it was never given.