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James Bulger film will not be pulled from the Oscars | UK News



A film about the murder of James Bulger will be allowed to compete at the Oscars, despite pleas from the toddler’s mother.

Denise Fergus said she had asked for Vincent Lambe’s Detainment to be pulled from next month’s ceremony after it was nominated in the best live action short category.

She said she had been particularly disturbed by re-enactments of James being led away by the hand by his young killers Jon Venables and Robert Thompson.

The director of a new film about James Bulger’s killers speaks about handling the subject sensitively and the film’s Oscar nomination.
The film about James Bulger’s killers is drawn from police interviews

But the academy disagreed, saying: “The academy offers its deepest condolences to Ms Fergus and her family. We are deeply moved and saddened by the loss that they have endured, and we take their concerns very seriously.

“Following long-standing foundational principles established to maintain the integrity of the awards, the academy does not in any way influence the voting process.

“Detainment was voted on by academy members. When making their choices, each individual applies their own judgement regarding the films’ creative, artistic and technical merits.

“We understand that this will not alleviate the pain experienced by the family; however we hope it clarifies the academy’s neutral role in the voting process.”

Denise Fergus and her husband Stuart in 2013 on the 20 year anniversary of the death of Denise's son James Bulger
Denise Fergus and her husband Stuart in 2013 on the 20 year anniversary of the death of Denise’s son James Bulger

James was just two years old when he was abducted, tortured and killed by 10-year-olds Thompson and Venables in 1993 in Merseyside.

The short film is based on police records and interviews with the two killers after James’ mutilated body was found on a railway line two days after his murder.

Mrs Fergus has previously said: “I cannot express how disgusted and upset I am at this so-called film that has been made and now nominated for an Oscar.

“It’s one thing making a film like this without contacting or getting permission from James’ family, but another to have a child re-enact the final hours of James’ life before he was brutally murdered and making myself and my family have to relive this all over again!

 Jon Venables, aged 10, poses for a mugshot on February 20, 1993
Jon Venables, aged 10, poses for a mugshot on February 20, 1993

Vincent Lambe, the film’s director, confirmed Mrs Fergus was never contacted about the making of the documentary.

The Irish filmmaker said: “The public opinion at the moment now is that those two boys were simply evil and anybody who says anything different or gives an alternate reason as to why they did it, or tries to understand why they did it, they get criticised for it.

“I think we have the responsibility to try and make sense of what happened.”

The Academy Awards are in Los Angeles on 24 February.

Meanwhile, Shameless actress Tina Malone is facing contempt of court proceedings over a post on social media that purported to show images of James Bulger killer Jon Venables.

Venables and Thompson have been living anonymously with new identities since they were released from a life sentence.

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