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The Movie "Hurricane" Was Shut Out of the 1999 Academy Awards
Oscar voters finally got it right after the “Shakespeare in Love” farce the year before won Best Picture in 1999 for “Saving Private Ryan.” Kevin Spacey won the Best Actor Oscar for “American Beauty” at the ceremony in Tinsletown on the evening of March 26. And for his portrayal of Rubin Hurricane Carter in “The Hurricane,” Denzel Washington didn’t.
In the words of that old song, “Long live Hollywood.”
To put it bluntly, Denzel Washington is one of my favorite actors on this planet or any other. We all come from the mean streets of New York City, and this man can perform with the best of them. Still, I strongly support Washington losing the Best Actor Oscar, just as I support any boxer beating Mike Tyson, or any prosecutor imprisoning Don King.
Washington was nominated for his portrayal of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a former fringe middleweight contender who was convicted not once, but twice, of a brutal 1966 double murder in New Jersey.
In the film, I quote my old friend Wally Matthews from the New York Post:
a) Rubin Hurricane Carter was an upright citizen who was bound by a racist justice system in general and a racist detective in particular;
b) Carter’s “defense” was obtained through the efforts of some crazy Canadians, and
c) Carter was a victim of racism, and the hometown decided against Joey Jadlow, who should have left the Philadelphia conference hall with the middleweight title.
All three statements are as true as the deceitful 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 a miserable skeleton until one fine day when the gravediggers implant the monster six feet deep. Carter was released from prison after being convicted of two murders, not because he was presumed innocent, but because some lunatic, liberal, Leninist leftist judge thought the district attorney was wrong with the jury in Carter’s second trial The summary is racist. Carter was subsequently released on a writ of habeas corpus, probably feeling like he won the Powerball lottery without buying the damn lottery.
Like Spike Lee’s “Summer of Sam,” Italian-Americans are torn to shreds in “The Hurricane.”
Director/producer/writer Norman Jewison invents a villain; a white, racist Italian-American cop who has been pestering Carter for years before accusing him of bogus murder. The truth is, this person never existed.
As for the Giardello fight, in the movie, the champion Giardello looks like he got kicked by Carter, when in fact in the real fight that took place in 1965, the consensus on the sidelines was that Giardello won easily.
In fact, Carter was never a fighter from the start.
The first time I played professionally in person was Joey Archer vs. Carter at Madison Square Garden in the early ’60s. Archer was a decent boxer, but he couldn’t even throw a punch, and he beat Carter in the ring for most of the 10 rounds, winning all umpires’ marks 9-1. points card. Dick Young, a prominent sports columnist, wrote in the New York Daily News the next day, “Of course Archer can dance. But so can Arthur Murray, and Murray’s punches are heavier.”
Carter built his entire reputation on a first-round TKO, defeating welterweight champion Emile Griffith in a non-title fight. That night, Carter was 10 pounds heavier than Griffith. A minute into the fight, Carter was lucky enough to knock Griffith to the ground with a right hand. The next two knockdowns were more the result of a wobbly Griffith tripping over his own feet. The three-knockdown rule was in effect, and Carter was declared the winner. Lucky him.
In fact, in 40 professional games, Carter lost 12 times, a loss rate of 30%. There is little material for a big-name boxer.
To sum up, “The Hurricane” is a big lie, and Denzel Washington lost the Oscar vote, just like Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter got 12 lashes in the ring.
In the end man, justice prevails.
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