the British film recreating events around the notorious murder of two-year-old
James Bulger, will be allowed to compete at the Oscars, the awards’ organizers
James Bulger’s mother, Denise
Fergus, had called for the movie to be withdrawn, after it was nominated in the
best live action short category.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts
and Sciences said it takes Denise Fergus’s concerns “very seriously”
but maintains a “neutral role” in the voting process.
It said academy members applied their
“own judgment” on the film’s merits.
James Bulger was a month short of
his third birthday when he was abducted by two 10-year-old boys, Jon Venables
and Robert Thompson, at the Strand shopping center in Bootle, Merseyside, the
UK, in 1993.
directed by Vincent Lambe, recreates the police interviews with James’ killers,
by using transcripts from the original tapes played in court during their
Denise Fergus had said she was
haunted by some of the imagery in the movie and called on the academy to remove
it from next month’s ceremony or for Vincent Lambe to withdraw it.
In statement the academy said it “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.”
The statement added: “Following
longstanding 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
judgment 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.”
An online petition calling on Detainment
to be dropped from the Academy Awards in Los Angeles on February 24 has
attracted more than 100,000 signatures.
However, Vincent Lambe has refused to withdraw his work, saying: “I think it would defeat the purpose of
making the film.”
He said he did not mean any disrespect by not consulting Denise Fergus or
her family but maintained: “The film
was made in the interest of understanding why it happened in order to prevent
something similar happening again in the future.”
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, who were convicted of murder after a 17-day trial at Preston Crown Court in November 1993, have since been released from detention and given new identities.
Favourite and Roma lead this
year’s Oscar race, with 10 nominations each.
The other contenders include A Star Is Born and Vicewith 8 nominations each, followed by Black Panther with seven.
The Marvel blockbuster is the first superhero movie ever to be nominated for
The Favourite actress Olivia Colman is among the acting nominees, alongside her co-star Rachel Weisz and Christian Balefor Vice.
Olivia Colman’s strongest
competition in the best actress category is likely to come from Glenn Close, who is odds-on favorite
to win her first Academy Award for The Wifeafter six previous
nominations, according to bookmakers.
Aparicio is nominated for her first screen
role, as the Mexican maid in Roma. The
Netflix film has also given the media-services provider its first ever best
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