The mother of the murdered toddler publicly asked the director of the Oscar-nominated short film to pull out of the race.
A controversial short film nominated this week for Best Live Action Short Film at the Oscars has been renounced by the parents of murdered toddler James Bulger.
The 30-minute film dramatises interview transcripts with Bulger’s killers, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, and portrays the moments before and after the two children kidnapped the toddler in a shopping centre.
Bulger’s mother Denise Fergus had previously publicly asked for the film to be removed from the public sphere. She wrote of her anguish over learning Vincent Lambe’s ‘Detainment’ had been nominated in a tweet.
This is all I want to say at present. pic.twitter.com/GbyshtVoa9
— Denise Fergus (@Denise_fergus) January 22, 2019
In a statement after Mrs Fergus made her views known, writer and director Lambe said:”I have enormous sympathy for the Bulger family and I am extremely sorry for any upset the film may have caused them. With hindsight, I am sorry I didn’t make Mrs Fergus aware of the film.”
The infamous subject matter has made this film and its subsequent honouring a divisive topic among the public. The Irish President congratulated the team behind it in a tweet to all Irish Academy Award nominees.
"All those who appreciate Irish creativity will welcome the shortlist for the 2019 Oscars, which includes many Irish nominees. I send my congratulations to Robbie Ryan and to the teams behind The Favourite, Late Afternoon and Detainment, who all fully deserve this recognition."
— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) January 22, 2019
However, others were not so quick to commend the film. Many members of the public have serious reservations, stemming from the lack of consultation with Bulger’s family.
Absolutely disgusted this short is even being considered. So hurtful and disrespectful to not ask if this subject could be used. Please remove.
— Elaine SHERIDAN 🇬🇧 (@lainey5565) January 22, 2019
We will find out if Detainment has Oscar success at the 91st Annual Academy Awards on 24th February.