James Bulger’s mum ‘disgusted’ by Oscar nod for film about son’s murder

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Denise Fergus has expressed her anger after a film about her son's killers Robert Thompson and Jon Venables received an Oscar nomination. Source: Getty

The mother of murdered toddler James Bulger says she is “disgusted” a film documenting the death of her beloved son has been nominated for an Academy Award.

Denise Fergus has spoken openly about her frustration at the movie Detainment, and following its recognition at the Oscars, she’s reiterated her anger that it was made without consultation or the approval of her family.

The 30-minute film, by Irish director Vincent Lambe, was nominated in the Best Live Action Short Film category on Tuesday. The winner will be announced at the awards night on February 25.

“I cannot express how disgusted and upset I am that this so-called film has been made and now nominated for an Oscar,” Fergus said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“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.”

More than 90,000 people had signed a petition calling on Oscars organisers to disqualify the short film from the running.

Fergus added: “After everything I’ve said about this so called film and asking for it to be removed, it’s still been nominated for an Oscar even though over 90,000 people have signed a petition which has now been ignored just like my feelings by the Academy.

“I’m so angry and upset at this present time. I personally want to thank everyone that has signed the petition up to now and hopefully will carry on supporting me in this. I just hope the film doesn’t win its category in the Oscars.”

James was brutally murdered by 10-year-olds Robert Thompson and Jon Venables in 1993, after they lured him away from the Liverpool shopping centre he’d been visiting with his mother.

Detainment is based solely on a series of disturbing police interviews with both boys, who initially denied their involvement in the two-year-old’s disappearance.

Fergus’s comments come after her ex-husband Ralph Bulger said it will be “horrific” if the film ends up winning an Oscar, as has been predicted.

Bulger admitted while he has seen many documentaries and news stories about the death of James over the past 26 years, Detainment takes things to another level.

The film’s director Lambe recently apologised to the Bulger family for not consulting them before making the movie and insisted he never set out to capitalise on their pain.

“I have enormous sympathy for the Bulger family and I am extremely sorry for any upset the film may have caused them,” he told the BBC. “With hindsight, I am sorry I didn’t make Mrs Fergus aware of the film.”

Do you think it was right to make a documentary on James Bulger’s murder? Should it be banned from the Oscars?

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