She made history by being the first Native American to receive a nomination for best actress at the Academy Awards.
Previous Indigenous female actors have been recognized for awards, however, Gladstone, representing the Blackfeet Nation, has the distinction of being the first Native American nominee. In a 2017 interview with The Guardian, she shared that she resided on reservations until the age of 11.
Gladstone plays Mollie Kyle, a prosperous member of the Osage Nation, in the movie “Killers of the Flower Moon.” The story is based on true events and focuses on Gladstone’s character falling for Ernest Burkhart, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio. As the two grow closer, they begin to question the suspicious deaths of wealthy Osage Nation members who had recently struck oil.
Gladstone attended the University of Montana to study acting and later landed roles on television shows such as “Billions” and in films like “Certain Women,” which was based on short stories by Maile Meloy. In 2016, she had a conversation with her former school about securing the role. She expressed her gratitude for being cast as an almost unknown actress and being a Native American without being typecast.
According to Entertainment Tonight, she has achieved a groundbreaking moment during this awards season by winning the Golden Globe for best actress in a drama film. This makes her the first ever Indigenous individual to receive this award.
According to a translation provided by her representative to CBS News, Gladstone used her native language during her acceptance speech. She greeted the audience as her friends and introduced herself as Eagle Woman from the Blackfeet Nation.
She expressed her gratitude for being able to speak her language, even though she is not fully fluent, in this setting. In the past, Native actors would speak English for their lines and then have their dialogue reversed by sound mixers to convey Native languages on camera.
Gladstone expressed that her victory was a triumph for “all indigenous children, both those living in rural areas and those in urban settings, who have aspirations and can now see themselves portrayed and their stories told by their own people, with unwavering support and trust from one another.”
Before, only four Indigenous actresses have received nominations for best actress at the Oscars: Merle Oberon and Keisha Castle-Hughes, both of Maori descent from New Zealand, and Yalitza Aparicio, a Native Mexican.
The film “Killers of the Flower Moon” has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards, with Scott George receiving a nomination for best original song, “Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People).” This marks the first time a member of the Osage Nation has been recognized for an Academy Award nomination.