Nearly 50 years later, the Hollywood Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, historically charged with organizing and conducting the Oscars, apologized to Sacheen Littlefeather, an actress, Apache activist and chairman of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee who was the focus of criticism and screaming when he took the stage at the 45th Gala in 1973 to express Marlon Brando’s decision not to accept the statuette for his work on “The Godfather.”” The abuse he endured because of this statement was unjustified,” begins the letter academy president David Rubin sent to Littlefeather recently. “The emotional toll he has gone through and the cost of his own career in our industry are irreparable. For too long the courage he showed has not been recognized. For this, we offer him our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration,” he continues.
Back then, the actress declared that she was “silenced” and that she “struggled to find work in the film industry.” Path in which he dedicated himself to activism and to found performing arts organizations for indigenous actors.
Without touching the award, Littlefeather communicated at that time the decision of Brando, who played Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s film, not to accept the recognition for Best Actor. “Unfortunately he cannot accept this generous award, and the reasons for this are the treatment that the film industry gives today to native Americans,” said the young woman, at which time boos and applause began to be heard from those present.
Nearly 50 years later, the Hollywood Academy apologized to Sacheen Littlefeather, who turned down an Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando.
Following the apology, Littlefeather will perform at the Academy Film Museum next month to talk about his gesture at the Oscars, a milestone in the history of cinema in terms of the representation of indigenous communities, and in order to discuss “the future of indigenous representation on the screen.” as disseminated by the group.
“Regarding the Academy’s apology to me, we indigenous people are very patient people, it has only been 50 years! We need to maintain our sense of humor about this at all times. It is our method of survival. It is deeply encouraging to see how much has changed since I did not accept the Academy Award 50 years ago,” she said in media reports.
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