January 23, 2019
Murdered toddler’s mother reveals her disgust at the film’s nomination
Detainment: why Oscar-nominated Jamie Bulger doc has prompted outrage
The mother of toddler James Bulger has spoken of her distress and fury after a documentary about her son’s murder earned an Oscar nomination yesterday.
Detainment, a short film by Irish filmmaker Vincent Lambe, is based on transcripts of police interviews with the boy’s killers, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. The pair were found guilty of murdering two-year-old Bulger after abducting him from a shopping centre in Liverpool in 1993. They were ten years old at the time.
Bulger’s mother, Denise Fergus, had called for the film to be removed from the Oscars shortlist in the Best Live Action Short category, The Independent reports. A petition urging the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to revoke its shortlisting has gained 90,000 signatures.
But this week the Academy announced that Detainment had secured a nomination in the Best Live Action Short Film category. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Los Angeles on 24 February.
Fergus says she is “angry and upset” about the documentary’s nomination, the Liverpool Echo reports.
“It’s one thing making a film like this without contacting or getting permission from James’s family but another to have a child re-enact the final hours of James’s life before he was brutally murdered and making myself and my family have to relive this all over again,” she said in a statement posted on Twitter.
She later told ITV’s Loose Women that she thought Lambe was using the Bulger case to further his career and called for the film to be banned. “I don’t think it deserves any Oscars and he’s just trying to big his career up and big himself up by [using] someone else’s grief”, she said. “I’m asking people to boycott it because I just don’t think it should have been made in the first place, especially without James’s parents being consulted.”
Lambe has since apologised for not consulting the family beforehand, but denied making the film for financial gain.
In an interview with Ireland’s RTE Radio 1, he insisted the film was “never intended to bring any more anguish to the Bulger family”. The filmmaker added: “In hindsight, I think we probably should have got in touch or let her know we were going to make it.”
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