In an unprecedented move for the Academy Awards, actress Lily Gladstone has been nominated for Best Actress, becoming the first Native American to be recognized in a competitive acting category.
Gladstone is celebrated for her portrayal of Mollie Burkhart, an Osage woman suffering at the hands of a treacherous scheme by her white husband in Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.”
The film, adapted from David Grann’s nonfiction book, delves into the sinister plot to murder Burkhart’s family for their oil-rich land in Oklahoma.
Gladstone’s performance has been lauded as a “magnetic” presence by The New Yorker’s Anthony Lane, and her dynamic with co-star Leonardo DiCaprio has been praised by The New York Times’s Manohla Dargis as a testament to their characters’ believable and tender relationship.
Gladstone’s achievements this awards season extend beyond the Oscars. On January 7, she made history as the first Indigenous person to win a Golden Globe for best actress. Her acceptance speech, which included Blackfeet language, left a strong impression.
Further acknowledging her talent, she has also secured a win from the New York Film Critics Circle and nominations from the Critics Choice Awards and the Screen Actors Guild.
Despite previous nominations for Indigenous actresses Keisha Castle-Hughes and Yalitza Aparicio, Gladstone is the first Indigenous actress from the United States to receive this honor.
This milestone comes after Wes Studi’s honorary Oscar in 2019 for his contributions to film and his support of the Native American community, and decades after Buffy Sainte-Marie’s best song win, which has recently become a subject of heritage dispute.
Raised in northwestern Montana on the Blackfeet reservation, Gladstone began her career with a traveling children’s theater before her breakout role in Kelly Reichardt’s 2016 indie “Certain Women.”
Now, with “Killers of the Flower Moon,” featuring an A-list cast and a staggering $200 million budget, Gladstone has been propelled into the spotlight, showcasing her considerable talents to audiences worldwide.