|Director Joe Berlinger and Jason Baldwin|
One of the Oscar nominations for Best Documentary, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, that tells the story of three teenage boys who many believe were wrongly convicted of the murders of Michael Moore, Stevie Branch and Christopher Byers in Arkansas eighteen years ago, generated some controversy. Shortly after the film was nominated, the parents of Michael Moore as well as the father and step-father of Stevie Branch asked that the Academy exclude the film from the nominations list because they felt is glorified the accused killers, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, collectively called the Memphis 3 by the press. Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky directed the series of films that investigated the murders and presented considerable evidence to support the conclusion that the Memphis 3 were innocent. In part because of this series of documentaries, the public was made aware of a miscarriage of justice and the media and many prominent celebrities got behind the cause to free the Memphis 3. In large part due to the movie uncovering new evidence, last August, the three men were release in a bizarre legal proceeding the three men.
The Academy did not remove the film and on Sunday, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. and Jason Baldwin all arrived on the red carpet with Director Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. CNN’s The Marquee Blog interviewed Jason at the awards. Jason told CNN, “Every day I wake up and I thank God for the community that came together, everybody came together and made it possible for us to be free now.” Speaking on his feelings about being on the red carpet, Jason said, “I just told Bruce [Sinofsky], do not pinch me because I don’t want to wake up.”
The Oscar went to Undefeated a documentary out of Memphis, Tennessee about a volunteer football coach who worked with inner city athletes.