Lily Gladstone Vows Not To Be the Last Native American Actress Nominated for an Oscar

"I'm not going to be the last, not by a long shot."

<p>Robert Smith/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images</p>

Robert Smith/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Lily Gladstone made history today as the first Native American woman, ever, to be nominated for the Best Actress award at the Academy Awards. The nomination wasn't entirely a surprise, as she's been racking up award after award leading up to this year's Oscars. She portrayed Mollie Burkhart in Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon, which earned 10 total nominations this morning. Gladstone, who is of Blackfeet and Nez Perce heritage, follows Whale Rider's Keisha Castle-Hughes and Roma star Yalitza Aparicio, who are both indigenous, but Gladstone has the distinction of being the first Indigenous woman from the United States to earn the honor.

Gladstone was in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, this morning when the nominations were announced, saying that she "wanted to make a point of being in the Osage Nation on the Osage reservation when the good news came in."

After she earned the nomination, she thanked all the Indigenous actors that came before her and noted that her nomination belonged to the entire Osage Nation, the Blackfeet Nation, and the Nez Perce Nation.

"I always say this, but it’s not fully mine. It belongs to so many people: the Osage Nation, the Blackfeet Nation, the Nez Perce Nation, every Indigenous actor whose shoulders I stand on," she told Entertainment Weekly. "It’s circumstantial that I’m the first, and I’m so very grateful. I just know that I’m not going to be the last, not by a long shot."

<p>Marc Piasecki/FilmMagic</p>

Marc Piasecki/FilmMagic

Related: Lily Gladstone Is the First Indigenous Woman to Win Her Category at the Golden Globes

She remained humble as she spoke about the nomination, noting that it was a milestone that should have happened "so much longer ago." She mentioned her cast-mates who she believed should have been nominated and name-checked Thunderheart actress Sheila Tousey.

"It’s incredible, and a huge part of me just wants to say that it shouldn’t have been me. This should have happened so much longer ago. I shared the screen in this film with Tantoo Cardinal, who’s from Canada, but that’s a border that crossed a lot of us," Gladstone said. "I grew up watching performances from Sheila Tousey, who I was lucky enough to share the stage with at one point in my career. Her work in ThunderheartI feel like after that, she should have been in every film and nominated for everything. There’s no actress alive that surpasses Sheila’s talent. She’s one of the true greats."

Gladstone also recognized Castle-Hughes and proved that she's got plenty of history chops by recognizing all of the distinctions that Castle-Hughes had earned.

"It's incredible that this has happened, and it took a while. I remember when Keisha Castle-Hughes was nominated for Whale Rider, and I remember how I felt when I watched this incredible actress, the youngest and first Indigenous nominee in the category, tell this story," Gladstone explained. "That felt so universal and felt so close to my upbringing, to my relationship with my land, with my family, with my father, with my language, all of it. It was incredible to see her representation, and this feels like it’s a true honor."

EW notes that Gladstone's yearbook photo went viral because she was voted Most Likely to Win an Oscar. It even got a mention from Gladstone's co-star Leonardo DiCaprio.

"When that trended a little bit, I got texted that picture from Leo. It kind of blew my mind that Leo had access to my high school yearbook. I mean, he found it online, but for a second it was confusing, like, “How did you get that?!” she said. "But it’s been great. I never really fully lost touch with my high school classmates, especially [actor] Josh Ryder, but it’s rekindled our friendship. But I’m grateful now that Mountlake Terrace High School, class of 2004, they’ve already planned an Oscars watch party. They’re going to do it in our old high school theater. So, I’m glad that they’re not going to be disappointed that they won’t be seeing me up there."

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