Gladstone nomination reminder of Hollywood’s shortcomings

Gladstone on the set of Killers of the Flower Moon Photo credit: Marlon Kaufmann Courtesy_of_Apple
Gladstone on the set of Killers of the Flower Moon Photo credit: Marlon Kaufmann Courtesy_of_Apple
Courtesy of Apple

The nominations for 96th annual Academy Awards were released on Jan 23 and the headlines were dominated by the fact that Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie were not chosen for their respective categories.

While all this outrage poured in Lily Gladstone sat back watching the world utterly disregard the fact, she had become the first Native American to be nominated for best actress reminding us of one of Hollywood’s greatest failures: its lack of representation for Native Americans.

Gladstone received the nomination on the Osage reservation and was incredibly grateful to be selected, but even in her moment the context behind the award was not lost. “It happens to be that I’m carrying this honor right now … (but) it’s all so long overdue.”

This highlights the sheer lack of representation for Native Americans in cinema; they only received 133 speaking roles out of 62,224 in the top 1,600 highest grossing movies from 2007 – 2022, a disgusting 0.2%.

In the 96-year history of the Academy Awards only four Native women have been nominated for the award at all. Two of which were Merle Oberon and Keisha Castle-Hughes from the Māori tribe of New Zealand, While the other Yalitza Aparicio is Native Mexican.

These four women were able to break through in Hollywood but that leaves so many amazing performances given by Native Americans that were not recognized, such as Irene Bedard who received no nomination for her work in Smoke Signals.

Yet despite these statistics and snubs that show the sheer erasure of Native Americans from the big screen, people like Hillary Clinton and Mary Mcnamara continue to champion the idea that somehow the Barbie movie is the true victim here.

In a statement about Barbie’s snubbing Mcnamara said “If only Barbie had done a little time as a sex worker. Or barely survived becoming the next victim in a mass murder plot. Or stood accused of shoving Ken out of the Dream House’s top window.”

This comment from a Pulitzer Prize winning critic on a movie depicting the killing of innocent people is incredibly telling of Hollywood’s attitude towards Native Americans.

The murders of The Osage people did not come from the mind of Martin Scorsese; they were real men, women and children who were sadistically murdered out of greed by men who ultimately went free.

To use that as some punchline on why a movie with 8 Oscar nominations is the true victim here is disgusting and shameful.

This attitude however is all too prevalent in Hollywood amplified by people’s willingness to defend Barbie at the expense of dampening the light shined on a Native Women who is making waves in an industry that does all it can to discredit her.

Hollywood has done a disservice to itself by not allowing Native American talent to shine. It has been long enough that we have allowed the movie industry to ignore their talent, so it is up to us to support Native actors, directors and movies so that they get the representation they deserve.






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About the Contributor
Peyton Oliveira
Peyton Oliveira, Staff Writer
Peyton Oliveira is a staff writer for Talon Marks covering sports, campus and community news. When not reporting he enjoys writing screenplays, listening to music and reading books. He is hoping to start an independent MMA journalism outlet and transfer to a Cal State.
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