Oscars: insulted in 1973, a Native American actress receives an apology from the Academy fifty years later


The Oscars have just apologized to Native American actress Sacheen Littlefeather, nearly fifty years after the latter, who had refused a statuette in the name of Marlon Brando, was insulted during the ceremony.

It is one of the highlights of Oscar history. In 1973,  Marlon Brando was crowned Best Actor for his performance in The Godfather . But the star is not present during the ceremony, and it is a young woman of 26 years old, Native American Sacheen Littlefeather , who comes on stage.

At the microphone, Sacheen Littlefeather caused a sensation by refusing the prestigious statuette in the name of Brando, a way of protesting against the treatment of Native Americans by the Hollywood industry. Booed and insulted, the young actress, victim of racist gestures, would then have been physically threatened behind the scenes by  John Wayne . Today, nearly five decades later, the Academy of Oscars apologizes to him...

“The abuse you suffered because of this statement was unwarranted ,” reads the message from the Oscars sent last June.  ” The emotional burden you have experienced and the cost to your own career in our industry is irreparable.  For too long, the courage you have shown has gone unrecognized. For this, we offer our sincere apologies and we send you  our sincere admiration.”

Today aged 75, Sacheen Littlefeather, who will be invited by the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on September 17, reacted to these excuses with humor. “We Indians are very patient people. It’s only been 50 years ,” says the actress and activist.

“On this subject, we must always keep our sense of humor. It is our means of survival. (…) It is very comforting to see how much things have changed since that day, there is 50 years, where I did not accept the Oscar.”