What happened at the 1973 Oscars between John Wayne and Sacheen Littlefeather?
Sacheen Littlefeather, an American actress, model, and Native American civil rights activist, eventually won justice after a large commotion following her speech about the 1973 Oscars.
At the 45th Academy Awards in 1973, Marlon Brando accepted the Best Actor award for his performance in The Godfather.
Brando, who was widely expected to win, withdrew from the ceremony in an effort to raise attention to the Wounded Knee conflict and to express his disapproval of how Native Americans are portrayed in popular media. Instead, in response to her comments criticizing Brando’s boycott, the audience booed and cheered.
She started working as a hospice care volunteer as soon as she finished speaking at the Academy Awards. In addition to making documentaries about Native Americans, she continues to work as an activist for Native American health issues.
In June 2022, the Academy issued a formal apology to the model. It was scheduled to be fully presented at An Evening with Sacheen Littlefeather on September 17.
Speech by Sacheen Littlefeather on the Oscars Debate in 1973 and John Wayne
After the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences formally apologized to Sacheen Littlefeather for how she was treated at the 1973 Oscars, John Wayne’s name has started to trend on Twitter.
As the head of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee at the time, Littlefeather was dressed in a buckskin dress and moccasins in accordance with traditional Apache clothing.
She declined the honor in a heartfelt speech to show her support for Brando’s protest against the portrayals of Native Americans in popular culture. Additionally, the action was done to draw attention to the protests occurring in South Dakota, the site of a massacre of Native Americans in 1890.
The performer responded by expressing her joy at having her mistreatment recognized so long after the fact. She said in a statement, “This is like a dream come true.”
When Sacheen was receiving the award, John Wayne, who is well known for his appearances in movies where he kills Native Americans, attempted to assault her.
49 years after the incident, the Academy Awards board apologized to Littlefeather.
Observing how much has changed in the 50 years since I chose not to accept the Academy Award is really energizing. I am in awe of everyone who will perform on stage.
In the past, Littlefeather, who acted in the films Johnny Firecloud, The Trial of Billy Jack, and The Laughing Policeman, claimed that by turning down Brando’s Oscar, she was basically booted out of the entertainment industry. The Native American activist made her film or television debut in 1978’s Shoot the Sun Down, although she did not appear in any other projects after that.
Due to his leading appearances in Western and war movies produced during the Golden Age of Hollywood, American actor John Wayne, also known by his stage name Duke, became well-known as a Hollywood hero.
He made 179 film and television appearances over the course of his active career, which covered the American New Wave to the 1920s silent era.
For three decades, The Lowa Born was a major box office draw and shared the screen with numerous other significant historical figures from the era’s Hollywood. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Wayne as one of the best male actors in old-school American cinema.
What happened between Sacheen Littlefeather and John Wayne?
On the night of the 1973 Academy Awards, John Wayne made an attempt to physically assault Sacheen Littlefeather.
The Oscars ceremony and award speeches can be particularly noteworthy because they may focus on or oppose some of the most significant political events, initiatives, or issues related to protecting equal rights in society.
The singer said that the opinions she had offended John Wayne, a famous Western actor, He frequently portrayed a cowboy at odds with Native Americans in his films.
She told The Guardian in 2021 that “he was racing towards me to yank me off the platform forcibly, and he had to be stopped by six security officials to stop him from doing so.”
What happened during the Oscar ceremony in 1973?
Before explaining why Brando was disqualified for the award because of “the movie’s depiction of modern-day American Indians,” Littlefeather briefly addressed the audience.
The actress remembered Brando trying to explain to her in a long speech why she couldn’t accept the kind award.
Despite being the favorite to win, Brando allegedly decided to withdraw from the competition in opposition to the siege of indigenous rights demonstrators at the village of Wounded Knee.
His thoughts about how stereotypically Native Americans are portrayed in American movies contributed to his choice to shun them.