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The Movie "Hurricane" Was Shut Out of the 1999 Academy Awards
After the previous year’s farce of “Shakespeare in Love” winning the Best Picture Oscar over “Saving Private Ryan,” in 1999, Academy Awards voters finally got it right. At the awards ceremony, which took place in Tinsletown on the night of March 26, Kevin Spacy won the Oscar for Best Actor for “American Beauty.” And for his portrayal of Rubin Hurricane Carter in “Hurricane”, Denzel Washington did not.
In the words of that old song, “Hora por Hollywood”.
All in all, let me say that Denzel Washington is one of my favorite actors on this, or any other planet. We both come from the mean streets of New York, and the man can totally rock with the best of them. However, I rooted hard for Washington to lose the Oscar for Best Actor, just as hard as I rooted for any fighter to beat Mike Tyson, or for any prosecutor to jail Don King.
Washington was nominated for his portrayal of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a former fringe middleweight contender and a man convicted not once, but twice for a brutal double murder that took place in 1966 in New Jersey.
In the film, and I quote the words of an old friend Wally Matthews in the New York Post:
a) Rubin Hurricane Carter was an honest citizen railroaded by racist justice in general and one racist detective in particular;
b) Carter’s “vindication” was obtained through the efforts of some rogue Canadians, and
c) Carter was the victim of a racist, hometown decision against Joey Giardello and should have left Convention Hall in Philadelphia with the middleweight title.
All three of these statements have about as much truth as the fraudulent words of Bob Arum, who once said, “Yesterday I lied. Today I tell the truth.”
Rubin Carter was never an upstanding citizen. He was a miserable skeleton from the day he was born, and he will remain so until the wonderful day when the gravediggers plant this creep six feet into the ground. Carter was released from prison after two murder convictions not because he was deemed innocent, but because some crooked, liberal, left-of-Lenin judge decided that the DA’s summation of the jury in the second Carter trail reeked of racism. Carter was then released on a writ of habeas corpus, probably feeling like he just won the powerball lottery without buying a damn ticket.
Just like in “Summer of Sam” by Spike Lee, Italian-Americans were torn apart in “Hurricane”.
Director/Producer/Screenwriter Norman Jewison invented a villain; a white, racist Italian-American policeman who badgers Carter for years, then railroads him on a false murder charge. In fact, this man never existed.
As for the Giardello fight, in the movie, the champion Giardello looks like he got the spit kicked out of him by Carter, when in fact in the actual fight that took place in 1965, the deal at ringside had Giardello winning pretty easily.
The truth is, Carter was never much of a fighter in the first place.
The first time I attended a professional fight in person was when Joey Archer fought Carter at Madison Square Garden in the early 60’s. Archer, a likable boxer who couldn’t punch one bit, pounded Carter around the ring for most of 10 rounds, winning on all the judges’ scorecards by a 9-1 tally. Famous sports columnist Dick Young wrote the next day in the New York Daily News, “A certain Archer can dance. But so can Arthur Murray, and Murray punches harder.”
Carter’s entire reputation was built on a first-round TKO over welterweight champion Emile Griffith in a non-title fight. On that night, Carter outweighed Griffith by 10 pounds. A minute into the fight, Carter got lucky with a right hand, knocking Griffith on the seat of his pants. The next two touchdowns were more the result of a wobbly Griffith tripping over his own feet. The three-knockout rule was in effect, and Carter was declared the winner. Lucky him.
In fact, in 40 professional fights, Carter lost 12 times, a whopping 30 percent losing percentage. Hardly the stuff great fighters are made of.
In summary, the movie “Hurricane” was one big lie, and Denzel Washington was defeated in the Oscar voting, just as Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was whipped 12 times in the ring.
In the end folks, justice prevails.
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