Thank You Letter to the Academy

February 26, 2012
President Tom Sherak
Chief Executive Officer Dawn Hudson
Chairman Robert P. Epstein
Awards Office
8949 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills CA 90211
Re: Paradise Lost III: Purgatory

Dear AMPAS Officers and representatives:

We, the parents of the murdered West Memphis, Arkansas, children, would like to thank the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for not awarding an Oscar to Paradise Lost 3 : Purgatory. Since August 19, 2011, we have witnessed many new and painful injustices. It started with the release of our children’s killers – Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. We are pleased and relieved to know that we did not have to suffer yet another injustice with this film being awarded an Oscar. Your decision not to reward a biased documentary that celebrates convicted child murderers was the right one and the only positive occurrence we have seen since their release. For this we are truly thankful to the Academy.

That said, this documentary never should have been nominated in the first place. From an artistic standpoint alone, it is filled with staged scenes, contrived dialogue, and was closer to fiction than to fact. It is difficult to believe the same institution that honored Harlan County USA, just to cite one example, saw fit to nominate a film that should not share that honor. The documentary feature award category has been cheapened, possibly beyond repair, because of this outrage. This was bad reality television. It was not a documentary as the Academy has honored in the past.

Society has grown coarse. The late Senator Daniel “Pat” Moniyhan was famous for his quote that society was “defining deviancy down.” Sen. Moniyhan had no clue how right he would be proved. When convicted murderers are honored at a worldwide televised event and mingle with an institution’s members as equals, it is difficult to imagine how much further down deviancy can be defined. We hope AMPAS found that bottom this year.

With both gratitude and sorrow,
Todd Moore, father of Michael
Diana Moore, mother of Michael Moore
Steve Branch, Sr., father of Stevie Branch, Jr.
Terry Hobbs, stepfather of Stevie Branch, Jr.

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