Lily Gladstone wins hearts as she honors her indigenous roots during her acceptance speech at the Golden Globe Awards.
Representation is crucial in mainstream media. It is vital that people of color view themselves in a positive light not only for their confidence but also to remove stereotypes attached to their community by society. Therefore, Lily Gladstone was visibly emotional taking home the award of Best Actress in a Motion Picture – drama for her role as Mollie in "Killers of the Flower Moon," knowing the impact this achievement would have on her community, as reported by Variety. The award was the first time an indigenous person won a Golden Globe in the ceremony's 81-year history. The most touching aspect of the whole thing was her speech, which she fittingly began with Blackfeet language.
After beginning her speech in the Blackfeet language, she called the namesake group "the beautiful community nation that raised me, that encouraged me to keep going, keep doing this." It was the actress' mother that ensured she knew how to speak the language. Despite being a white woman, the mother got the language in Gladstone's classroom and got her a teacher who taught the Blackfeet language. The actress used the platform to touch the struggles indigenous actors have gone through in this industry. She added, "I'm so grateful that I can speak even a little bit of my language, which I'm not fluent enough here, because in this business, Native actors used to speak their lines in English and then the sound mixers would run them backward to accomplish Native languages on camera."
Lily Gladstone has become the first Indigenous winner in the Golden Globes’ 81-year history. pic.twitter.com/BtUWp0RpbT— AJ+ (@ajplus) January 8, 2024
The actress understands that the win means a lot to her community. It was years of hard work and resilience that led to this moment where an indigenous actress could achieve this honor. She states, "It doesn't belong to just me. I'm holding it right now, I'm holding it with all my beautiful sisters in the film and my mother [in the film], Tantoo Cardinal." Gladstone expressed her gratitude to Martin Scorsese for daring to bring the story of the Osage Nation onto the screen and allowing her to be a part of it.
She hopes that it fills the future generation of her community with optimism about their identity and place in the industry. She ends with, "This is for every little rez kid, every little urban kid, every little Native kid who has a dream, who is seeing themselves represented and our stories told by ourselves in our own words with tremendous allies and tremendous trust with and from each other. Thank you all so much."
Finally watched Killers of the Flower Moon tonight and wow… Lily Gladstone can really take you out at the knees with just a glance pic.twitter.com/PKl0T7HczL— Luke Valle (@LukeValleWrites) January 6, 2024
"Killers of the Flower Moon" has been receiving a myriad of reactions from the world. The movie was based on the true story of the Reign of Terror in 1920s Oklahoma, in which individuals of the Osage Nation were killed in order to snatch their oil resources. Indigenous commentator Kate Nelson appreciated the movie for "making a strong statement that it's no longer acceptable to extract valuable assets from Indigenous communities – whether that be our stories or our natural resources – without our consent and input," per BBC Culture.
There was also a section of critics who did not like how indigenous characters were written in the movie compared to the white characters. "Reservation Dogs" star Devery Jacobs felt that "each of the Osage characters felt painfully underwritten, while the white men were given way more courtesy and depth," as reported by Entertainment Weekly.