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Oscar season is always full of twists and turns, and the biggest one so far is Killers of the Flower Moon.
diverse Lily Gladstone’s work as Molly Burkhart, an Indigenous woman at the center of a sinister plot in Martin Scorsese’s crime epic, will be campaigned for the Academy Awards for Best Actress, rather than supported by what many critics expected, she has exclusively learned. She will campaign alongside her Oscar-winning star and executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio.
Based on David Grann’s 2017 nonfiction book “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” the film tells the tragic true story of Osage tribe members who were murdered under suspicious circumstances during the 1920s.
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“Assassins” is a film that focuses on the indigenous experience, especially in the context of the events surrounding it. Scorsese’s goal and message with the film is to highlight the voices of the Osage people who lived through these horrific events. Gladstone’s turn could have gone either way on the awards circuit, but the campaign will mark an important milestone with her role front and centre.
The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where Scorsese and his cast, including DiCaprio, Gladstone, Robert De Niro and Jesse Plemons, received a standing ovation from attendees. Gladstone’s work has become a front-runner in these early days of awards season, and her category surprise echoes Michelle Williams’ work in last year’s “The Fabelmans,” for which she was nominated for the lead. Co-distributors Apple Original Films and Paramount Pictures are hoping the 37-year-old sensation goes further.
It is unfortunate that Indigenous representation in the Academy has been almost non-existent in the history of cinema.
Three Indigenous women were nominated for Best Actress – Merle Oberon for “The Dark Angel” (1935), Keisha Castle-Hughes for “Whale Rider” (2003), and Yalitza Aparicio for “Roma” (2018). These women are British, Kiwi and Mexican respectively.
Besides never winning an acting Oscar, an Indigenous actress from the United States has never won a SAG Award or a Critics’ Choice Award, or even been nominated by those groups.
With Gladstone out of the supporting actress category, this race has opened wide with many potentials hoping to take the top spot she once held. With “Killers” expected to receive a major A-lister, I also wouldn’t rule out any of Gladstone’s Indigenous co-stars for making a play about acting love, particularly Cara Jade Myers, who plays her sister Anna.
In addition to the Best Picture, Directing, and Acting categories, the film will compete in all categories including Adapted Screenplay (Eric Roth, Scorsese), Production Design (Jack Fisk, Adam Willis), Cinematography (Rodrigo Prieto), and Costume Design (Jacqueline West). Film editing (Thelma Schoonmaker), makeup and hairstyle (TBD), sound (TBD), visual effects (TBD), and original score (the late Robbie Robertson).
in miscellaneous “DiCaprio has never gone so far to the dark side, daring us to follow him as Ernest works his way through a cold, ‘Gaslight’-style plot to steal his wife’s fortune,” Peter Debruge wrote.
Produced by Scorsese, Dan Friedkin, Daniel Luby, and Bradley Thomas, Apple Original Films will release Killers of the Flowers Moon exclusively in theaters worldwide on October 20.