Sacheen Littlefeather: Oscars apologises to actress after 50 years

1 year ago 98

By Malu Cursino
BBC News

At the 1973 Academy Awards, Sacheen Littlefeather refuses the Academy Award for Best Actor connected  behalf of Marlon Brando who won for his relation   successful  The Godfather.Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

The grant was presented by Roger Moore and Liv Ullman - but rejected

The Oscars has apologised to Sacheen Littlefeather, a Native American pistillate booed disconnected signifier astir 50 years ago.

The activistic and histrion appeared connected unrecorded TV successful 1973 to garbage an Oscar that Marlon Brando won for The Godfather.

Brando rejected the champion histrion grant due to the fact that of misrepresentation of Native Americans by the US movie manufacture - and sent Littlefeather successful his place.

The Academy said Littlefeather endured "unwarranted and unjustified" maltreatment pursuing her little speech.

"I ne'er thought I'd unrecorded to spot the time I would beryllium proceeding this," she told the Hollywood Reporter.

Littlefeather, past 26, was heckled and shunned by the amusement manufacture pursuing her code astatine the awards.

Her code was, organisers said, the archetypal governmental connection astatine the televised ceremonial - opening a inclination which continues to this day.

Introducing herself connected behalf of Brando - who wrote "a precise agelong speech" - she concisely told the assemblage "that helium precise regretfully cannot judge this precise generous award".

"And the reasons for this being the attraction of American Indians contiguous by the movie manufacture and connected tv successful movie re-runs, and besides with caller happenings astatine Wounded Knee," she said - successful notation to a convulsive stand-off with national agents astatine a tract of important value to the Sioux people.

She was met with boos - and immoderate cheers - from the audience.

In 2020, Littlefeather told the BBC that consecutive aft the code she had to permission the signifier with 2 information guards. But, she added, it "was a precise bully thing" arsenic histrion John Wayne was backstage (secured by six information men); she said helium was "furious with Marlon and furious with me" and wanted to propulsion her disconnected signifier himself.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Littlefeather - pictured present successful 2010 - said she ne'er thought she would spot an apology

Some radical utilized the "Tomahawk chop" - seen arsenic a demeaning motion to Native Americans - arsenic she was walking by.

Brando had written a overmuch longer speech, but Littlefeather was instructed by the grant ceremony's accumulation squad to support the rejection to 60 seconds.

It was televised to 85 cardinal people. Some media reports aft the lawsuit claimed Littlefeather was not genuinely a Native American, but alternatively that she agreed to the code to assistance her acting career. Some speculated she mightiness beryllium Brando's mistress.

She told the BBC each those claims were untrue.

"The maltreatment you endured... was unwarranted and unjustified," David Rubin, erstwhile president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, wrote successful a letter to Littlefeather made nationalist connected Monday.

Mr Rubin said the code astatine the 45th Academy Awards "continues to punctual america of the necessity of respect and the value of quality dignity".

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures volition big an lawsuit successful September, successful which Littlefeather volition speech astir her quality astatine the 1973 Oscars and the aboriginal of indigenous practice connected screen.

In effect to the apology, she said: "We Indians are precise diligent radical - it's lone been 50 years!"

She added that keeping a consciousness of humour is "our method of survival".

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