The Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences has apologised to Sacheen Littlefeather, the actor and activist who was booed off stage throughout an Oscars ceremony almost 50 years in the past.
Littlefeather appeared on the ceremony in 1973 to reject an Academy Award on behalf of actor Marlon Brando, who had acquired an Oscar for his work in The Godfather. On the time, Brando boycotted the Greatest Actor win on account of the misrepresentation of Native People within the movie business, and despatched Littlefeather – herself an activist for Native People – in his place.
Her look in the course of the ceremony marked the primary time a Native American girl had taken to the Oscars stage, however the cause for her presence was shortly met with heckling and boos from the viewers.
“[Brando] very regretfully can’t settle for this very beneficiant award,” Littlefeather mentioned in the course of the speech, “the explanations for this being the remedy of American Indians immediately by the movie business and on tv.”
Now, almost 5 many years because the incident, the Academy has made public a letter despatched to Littlefeather apologising for the “abuse [she] endured” within the wake of the speech.
Written by Academy president David Rubin in June and revealed by the Academy Museum yesterday (August 15), the letter says the reception to Littlefeather – each in the course of the ceremony and amongst Hollywood within the years since – “was unwarranted and unjustified.”
“The emotional burden you may have lived via and the fee to your individual profession in our business are irreparable. For too lengthy the braveness you confirmed has been unacknowledged. For this, we provide each our deepest apologies and our honest admiration,” Rubin wrote.
In an announcement shared in response to the apology, Littlefeather mentioned: “we Indians are very affected person folks – it’s solely been 50 years!” earlier than referencing the letter’s pledge to make sure Indigenous storytellers are extra broadly represented.
“This can be a dream come true,” Littlefeather mentioned, “It’s profoundly heartening to see how a lot has modified since I didn’t settle for the Academy Award 50 years in the past.”
Along with the apology, the Academy Museum additionally introduced that it’ll host Littlefeather for an “night of dialog, therapeutic and celebration.” The occasion, which can happen in September, will characteristic a program of Native American performers, audio system and vocalists, in addition to a reside studying of the Academy’s apology and a dialog with Littlefeather herself.
In a 2020 interview with the BBC, Littlefeather mirrored on the 1973 awards ceremony – the Academy’s forty fifth – and recalled being escorted off stage by two safety guards. She remarked that actor John Wayne, who was side-stage in the course of the speech, was “livid with Marlon and livid with me.”
Littlefeather’s speech was televised to some 85 million viewers, and, because the Academy wrote in its apology, marked the ceremony’s first on-stage political assertion.