Oscar apologizes to indigenous actress after 50 years for mistreatment during awards ceremony
Sacheen Littlefeather had just 60 seconds to speak at the 1973 Academy Awards. In her brief speech, while rejecting the Oscar for Best Actor on behalf of Marlon Brando, she also defended the rights of Native Americans.
Her speech not only caused hateful screams from the audience, but also from the actors who were present.
Almost 50 years later, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is officially apologizing to Littlefeather for the mistreatment she experienced during her speech and in the years that followed.
"The abuse you endured because of this statement was unwarranted," former Academy President David Rubin wrote in a letter to Littlefeather. The emotional toll you have experienced and the cost to your career in our industry is irreparable. For a long time the courage you showed was not accepted. For this, we offer our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration."
Littlefeather will appear at the Academy of Motion Pictures Museum next month to discuss her historic Oscar appearance and the future of Indigenous representation on screen, the Academy said.
In a statement, Littlefeather called the upcoming event, during which she will receive the pardon in person, "a dream come true."
“Është thellësisht inkurajuese të shoh se sa shumë ka ndryshuar që kur nuk e pranova çmimin e Akademisë 50 vjet më parë”, tha Littlefeather.
Kur Brando fitoi aktorin më të mirë për rolin e tij kryesor në "The Godfather", ai mungonte. Në vend të tij, ai i kërkoi Littlefeather, atëherë një aktore dhe aktiviste, të merrte pjesë në ceremoni - dhe të refuzonte çmimin në emër të tij.
Duke u ngjitur në skenë në heshtje dhe qetësi me një fustan prej lëkure, Littlefeather u prezantua solemnisht si një grua Apache.
"(Brando) me shumë keqardhje nuk mund ta pranojë këtë çmim shumë bujar dhe arsyet për këtë janë trajtimi i indianëve të Amerikës sot nga industria e filmit," tha ajo.
Ajo tha gjithashtu se John Wayne, ylli konservator perëndimor e akuzoi atë për ta "nxjerrë nga skena", megjithëse ai u ndalua nga rojet e sigurisë.
After the ceremony, Littlefeather said she struggled to find work in the film industry. She devoted much of her post-Oscars career to activism and founding performing arts organizations for Indigenous actors.
Despite the condemnation she received from some in Hollywood who disagreed with her advocacy of Native Americans, Littlefeather said she received praise and support from leaders such as Coretta Scott King and Cesar Chavez.