The Movie "Hurricane" Was Shut Out of the 1999 Academy Awards

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After the previous year’s farce of “Shakespeare in Love” winning the Best Picture Oscar over “Saving Private Ryan,” in 1999, the Academy Awards voters finally got it right. In the awards ceremony that took place in Tinsletown on the night of March 26, Kevin Spacy won the Best Actor Oscar for “American Beauty.” And for his portray of Rubin Hurricane Carter in “Hurricane,” Denzel Washington did not.

In the words of that old song, “Hooray for Hollywood.”

Right of the bat, let me say Denzel Washington is one of my favorite actors on this, or any other planet. We both come from the mean streets of New York City, and the man can flat out act with the best of them. Still, I was rooting hard for Washington to lose the Oscar for Best Actor, just as hard as I root 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, 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 old friend Wally Matthews in the New York Post:

a) Rubin Hurricane Carter was an upstanding citizen railroaded by a racist justice system in general and one racist detective in particular;

b) Carter’s “vindication” was obtained through the efforts of some crackpot 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 veracity as the fraudulent words of Bob Arum, who once said, “Yesterday I was lying. Today I’m telling the truth.”

Rubin Carter was never an upstanding citizen. He was a miserable skell from the day he was born, and he will remain one until the wonderful day the grave diggers 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 crackpot, liberal, left-of-Lenin judge decided that the district attorney’s summation to the jury in the second Carter trail smacked of racism. Carter was then released on a writ of habeas corpus, probably feeling like he had just won the powerball lottery without buying a damn ticket.

Just like in Spike Lee’s “Summer of Sam,” Italian-American’s were ripped to shreds in “Hurricane.”

Director/Producer/Screenwriter Norman Jewison invented a villain; a white, racist Italian-American cop who badgers Carter for years, then and railroads him on a false murder charge. The fact is, this man never existed.

As for the Giardello fight, in the movie, the champion Giardello looks like he was getting the spit kicked out of him by Carter, when in fact in the real fight that took place in 1965, the consensus at ringside had Giardello winning quite 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 nice boxer who couldn’t punch even a little, smacked Carter around the ring for most of 10 rounds, winning on all judges scorecards by a 9-1 tally. Famed sports columnist Dick Young wrote the next day in the New York Daily News, “Sure 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 onto the seat of his pants. 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.

The fact is, in 40 pro fights, Carter lost 12 times, a whopping 30 percent losing percentage. Hardly the stuff bigtime fighters are made of.

In summation, the movie “Hurricane” was one big lie, and Denzel Washington got defeated in the Oscar’s voting, just like Rubin “Hurricane” Carter got whipped 12 times in the ring.

Finally people, justice prevails.

write by Bridget

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