‘Detainment’ Makes Oscars Shortlist


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A short film which had its UK premiere at the Winchester Film Festival has been put on the shortlist for an Academy Award in the ‘Live Action Short Film’ section.

‘Detainment’ is now one of ten in its shortlisted category, and will go on to contest for a final Oscar nomination, with those nominations announced on 22nd January.

Director Vincent Lambe posted this reaction on his Instagram account:

“Well, I can hardly believe I’m saying this, but DETAINMENT has just been short-listed for the OSCARS! At 11PM last night (around 3PM LA time), the Academy Awards announced a short-list of 10 films and ‘Detainment’ is one of them! I’m lost for words!”


The film won Best Foreign Short Film at the event in Winchester and Vincent Lambe is pictured above.

Vincent told the audience in Winchester after the screening that he saw it as a tragedy for three families: “While I have enormous sympathy for the family of James Bulger, I think it is also important to acknowledge the suffering of the families of the two boys who were responsible for the killing.

“Once you remove the anger towards the two 10-year-olds who committed this heinous crime, there are two more sets of grieving parents left behind trying to make sense of what their sons have been capable of doing.

“Detainment does not distract audiences from the horrifying crime. It depicts how these boys confessed to what they had done and the exceptional work carried out by the Merseyside police force.”


Speaking from his first-hand experience of the case, author David James Smith commented that if audiences were willing, they will find in the film the truth of the two boys and their inescapable smallness.

John Hayes is director of the Winchester Film Festival that premiered Detainment. At the time he told Winchester Today why he was prepared to go ahead and show the film when other festivals had not: “The film, without showing the graphic details, spares us none of the horror of the James Bulger story, but dares to humanise his killers.

“How British audiences react to this dramatisation will tell us whether we are ready to accept it is a tragedy for three families. What is certain is that this unflinching and controversial film will divide opinion and deserves to be seen.”