Detainment, directed by Irish filmmaker Vincent Lambe, was nominated for the best live action short film at the 91st Academy Awards despite a fierce backlash against it.
James’ mum Denise Fergus had called for the nomination to be revoked after claiming Lambe had not contacted her before making the film, leaving her “deeply upset”.
The 30-minute film is based on transcripts of police interviews with killers Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, who abducted, tortured and murdered two-year-old James in Liverpool in 1993.
However, the film did not win the Oscar, losing out to Israeli filmmaker Guy Nattiv’s short film “Skin” at the star-studded ceremony at the Dolby Theatre, in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Denise tweeted: “I’m so made up, that short film Detainment did not win the oscar, can’t tell you just how relieved I am, thanks to everyone who has agreed with me on this xx.”
The other Oscar nominees for best live action short film were “Fauve” by Jeremy Comte, “Marguerite” by Marianne Farley and “Mother” by Rodrigo Sorogoyen.
Denise and James’ dad Ralph have criticised Lambe for not asking for their permission and being “sympathetic” to their son’s killers.
She said the trauma she suffered over her son’s abduction and murder came “flooding back” after watching the film.
“I’m so made up”
James Bulger’s mum Denise Fergus
In a heartrending open letter Denise asked Lambe to “do the right thing” and withdraw the film from the Oscars and public viewing.
Lambe has apologised for not consulting the family before making the film but denied accusations he was exploiting the tragedy for his own gain.
He said: “Detainment was never intended to bring any more anguish to the Bulger family.
“In hindsight, I think we probably should have got in touch or let her [Denise Fergus] know we were going to make it.”
Venables and Thompson tortured and murdered James after snatching him from a shopping centre in Bootle, Liverpool, in 1993.
The boys, both aged 10 at the time, battered him to death before leaving his dismembered body on a railway line in Walton, where he was found 48 hours later.
Both youngsters were found guilty and jailed for eight years at Her Majesty’s pleasure until being released by the Parole Board in 2001.
A court order granting them anonymity for the rest of their lives and new identities was approved by Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, then England’s most senior family judge.