While Netflix’s “The Irishman” was able to earn five (5) nominations for the Golden Globe Awards, including “Best Motion Picture – Drama,” the movie was not a winner as far as members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) were concerned. Apparently, it takes more than a highly acclaimed director, like Martin Scorsese or A-list actors, like Robert de Niro or Al Pacino to impress the HFPA award-giving body.
As if to explain why the “The Irishman” was not worthy enough for a Golden Globe award, write-ups and stories refuting its claim of being a non-fiction motion picture, recently resurfaced. Actual investigators and reporters who had first hand information about labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa, and no less than the real Chuckie O’Brien, Hoffa’s stepson, refuted claims that “The Irishman” Frank Sheeran was involved in the killing of the union leader.
The Real Chuckie O’ Brien Speaks Up
In a Time interview, the now 86 years old, Chuckie O’Brien (played by Jesse Plemons) expressed anger over Martin Scorsese’s portrayal of truck-driver-turned-Mafia-hitman Frank Sheeran (Robert de Niro) as a close associate of Jimmy Hoffa. O’Brien said that Sheeran was not as close to Jimmy Hoffa as the way he was depicted in “The irishman.” He described the real Frank Sheeran as a drunk who got thrown out of the union.
O’Brien cannot just accept the fact that a large part of his life was given to a man who had no real connection to Hoffa. Time quoted O’Brien as saying
“To see this happen, makes me so mad.” “I would like to get hold of that Scorsese and choke him like a chicken.” “After I get through with him, I would grab that other pipsqueak who portrayed the Irishman.”
O’Brien’s anger was explained in an op-ed entitled “How The Irishman” Maligns My Father,”written by Jack Goldsmith, a stepson of Chuckie O’Brien. Goldsmith wrote that the supposedly non-fiction movie was largely false because it was his stepfather (O’Brien) and not Frank Sheeran who was Hoffa’s intimate associate, bodyguard, driver and sometime “special troubleshooter.” Goldsmith had in fact, previously written a book about his stepfather’s relationship with Jimmy Hoffa, entitled “In Hoffa’s Shadow”.
Scorsese Based “The Irishman” on Questionable Claims Made by Frank Sheeran
The real Irishman, Frank Sheeran made his Hoffa claims before he died of cancer in a nursing home in 2003. Sheeran voiced those claims through extensive interviews conducted by Charles Brandt. Brandt on the other hand, used the stories shared by Sheeran as bases for his book “I Heard You Paint Houses.” That same book was criticized by investigators and reporters regarded as Hoffa-experts, as being largely exaggerated if not invented,
Still, despite the criticisms, Scorsese went ahead and used Brandt’s book as founding material for his “The Irishman” movie. Even at the time when news of “The Irishman” came about, Scorsese was asked for comments on why he chose to base the movie on a book that was highly criticized for not being factual. The famed producer and director simply told Entertainment Weekly that he does not “really care” about all the debate concerning the accuracy of Sheeran’s stories.
The comment however did not receive much attention because at that time, it was Scorsese’s controversial statement about “Marvel’s superhero movies as not being cinema” that drew negative reactions.
Now, after the glaring fact that “The Irishman” failed to garner any of the Golden Globe awards for which it was nominated, articles about the contentious Frank Sheeran story as “The Irishman,” have resurfaced.
Still, even if “The Irishman” won the Best Motion -Drama award, it is likely that contentions about the film as not based on accurate facts will surface. After all, Scorsese claims it to be non-fiction movie depicting the “feelings and feelings of someone over 50, 60, 70, 80 years old,” albed founded on questionable recollections of a man known to weave exaggerated stories.