Dad says Oscar-nominated film glorifies convicts
Sunday, February 26, 2012
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Todd Moore isn’t sure whether he’ll watch the Oscars this weekend, when a documentary about the murder of his son and two other Cub Scouts could win an Academy Award.
Moore and his ex-wife, Diana, believe “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” glorifies the three men convicted in the Arkansas boys’ deaths and asked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to bar it from consideration for an Oscar.
The academy refused, saying the film met the basic eligibility requirements and was being viewed and evaluated by members.
“It would not be possible for the Academy — its leadership, executives, or administration — to insert itself into this process without risking the integrity of this longstanding procedure and of the awards themselves,” wrote Rob Epstein, who chairs the Documentary Branch Executive Committee, in the letter dated Dec. 13. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter this week.
Epstein thanked the family for writing with such candor and said he could only begin to imagine the anguish they’ve suffered.
“I would not trivialize your pain by asking for your understanding, but I do hope this has clarified the organization’s role in the Awards process,” he wrote.
The film, directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, is the third in a series of HBO documentaries about the killings of Michael Moore, Stevie Branch and Christopher Byers in West Memphis. The three men convicted in their 1993 deaths, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, entered a plea deal last year that cut their prison term to time served and let them still claim innocence.