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Why Marlon Brando Rejected His 1973 Oscar

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Printed Date: Nov 21 2018 at 2:54pm

Topic: Why Marlon Brando Rejected His 1973 Oscar
Posted By: purpulicious01
Subject: Why Marlon Brando Rejected His 1973 Oscar
Date Posted: Feb 28 2014 at 11:15pm
Love this - wish we had more people who spoke the truth and made powerful statements such as this.

The Unbelievable Story Of Why Marlon Brando Rejected His 1973 Oscar For 'The Godfather'

The man who" rel="nofollow - made offers others couldn't refuse  once refused the movie industry's heftiest honor.

On March 5, 1973, Marlon Brando" rel="nofollow - declined the Academy Award for Best Actor  for his gut-wrenching performance as Vito Corleone in "The Godfather" — for a very unexpected reason.

Here's how it went down.

The Movie That Brought Brando Back

In the 1960s, Brando's career had slid into decline. His previous two movies  — the famously over-budget "One-Eyed Jacks" and "Mutiny on the Bounty" —" rel="nofollow - tanked at the box office . Critics" rel="nofollow - said  "Mutiny" marked the end of Hollywood's golden age, and worse still," rel="nofollow - rumors of Brando's unruly behavior on set  turned him into one of the least desirable actors to work with.

Brando's career needed saving. "The Godfather" was his defibrillator.

In the epic portrayal of a 1940s New York Mafia family, Brando played the patriarch, the original Don. Though the film follows his son Michael (played by Al Pacino), Vito Corleone is its spine. A ruthless, violent criminal, he loves and protects the family by any means necessary. It's the warmth of his humanity that makes him indestructible — a paradox shaped by Brando's remarkable performance.

"The Godfather"" rel="nofollow - grossed nearly $135 million nationwide , and is heralded as one of the greatest films of all time." rel="nofollow - Pinned against pinnacles of the silver screen  — Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier, and Peter O'Toole — Brando was favored to win Best Actor. 

Drama At The Awards Show

On the eve of the 45th Academy Awards, Brando announced that he would boycott the ceremony and send" rel="nofollow - Sacheen Littlefeather  in his place. A little-known actress, she was then-president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee.

oscars 70s marlon brando native american


Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather in his place, to address the American Indian rights movement.

On the evening of March 5, when Liv Ullman and Roger Moore read out the name of the Best Actor award recipient, neither presenter parted their lips in a smile. Their gaze fell on a woman in Apache dress, whose long, dark hair bobbed against her shoulders as she climbed the stairs.

Moore extended the award to Littlefeather, who waved it away with an open palm. She set a letter down on the podium, introduced herself, and" rel="nofollow - said :

"I'm representing Marlon Brando this evening and he has asked me to tell you ... that he very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award. And the reasons for this being are the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry —"

The crowd booed. Littlefeather looked down and said "excuse me." Others in the audience began to clap, cheering her on. She continued only briefly, to "beg" that her appearance was not an intrusion and that they will "meet with love and generosity" in the future.

Watch the scene unfold:

Why He Did It

In 1973, Native Americans had "virtually no representation in the film industry and were primarily used as extras," Native American studies scholar" rel="nofollow - Dina Gilio-Whitaker writes . "Leading roles depicting Indians in several generations of Westerns were almost always given to white actors."

But they weren't just neglected or replaced in film; they were disrespected — a realization that crippled Brando's image of the industry.

Marlon Brando

Associated Press

Brando was 48 when he became the second person to reject an Academy Award for Best Actor.

The following day," rel="nofollow - The New York Times printed the entirety of his statement  — which Littlefeather was unable to read in full because of ",,296481,00.html" rel="nofollow - time restraints ." Brando expressed support for the American Indian Movement and referenced the ongoing situation at Wounded Knee, where a team of 200 Oglala Lakota activists had occupied a tiny South Dakota town the previous month and was currently under siege by U.S. military forces. He wrote:

"The motion picture community has been as responsible as any for degrading the Indian and making a mockery of his character, describing him as savage, hostile and evil. It's hard enough for children to grow up in this world. When Indian children ... see their race depicted as they are in films, their minds become injured in ways we can never know."

A tsunami of criticism toppled over Brando and Littlefeather following the Oscars, from" rel="nofollow - peers in the industry" rel="nofollow -  and the media .

Still, Brando lent the Native American community a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise awareness of their fight in front of" rel="nofollow - 85 million viewers , leveraging an entertainment platform for political justice in unprecedented fashion. His controversial rejection of the award (which no winner has repeated since) remains one of the most powerful moments in Oscar history.

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Posted By: sexyandfamous
Date Posted: Mar 01 2014 at 1:43am
what a nice man he was.

Posted By: Lilaca
Date Posted: Mar 01 2014 at 3:55am
Nice speech.....the it!

Posted By: HaitianDiva64
Date Posted: Mar 01 2014 at 4:37am
Please take note macklemore

Posted By: newdiva1
Date Posted: Mar 01 2014 at 6:01am
Brando was one of the few actors who put his career on the line to speak out and speak his mind.  He put his money where his mouth was. I'll always respect that.

Posted By: Midna
Date Posted: Mar 01 2014 at 7:02am
Gotta respect Marlon Brando. That's a white man who is real about his allyship. He was willing to compromise his career and pulled this move.

Plus he was fine in his youth. Bahaha~

Anyway, notice how the audience doesn't start booing at "cannot accept this award" but begin booing at "the treatment of American Indians." Ermm

White people, man.

Posted By: Midna
Date Posted: Mar 01 2014 at 7:03am
Also what a beautiful woman! Her voice is so soothing, even though it's tinged with sorrow.

Such a poetic voice.

Posted By: nekamarie83
Date Posted: Mar 01 2014 at 8:03am
I was just watching a TCM mini doc on the oscars & their history and they had a protest/political segment that featured this, Jane Fonda and Michael Moore.

I also liked the POC segment, but it reminded me of how (eta: I ) hate that black people dog Hattie McDaniel and other performers of her time due to roles they had to take just to be seen. While it's not the proudest, we had to start somewhere and people like her suffered in their time so we have a chance and some semblance of a choice.

Posted By: JoliePoufiasse
Date Posted: Mar 01 2014 at 11:06am
Funny, I just saw the speech on indian tv just 4 days ago. Marlon Brando rocks. The woman who spoke in his place is beautiful imo.

It was in a documentary about the way Indians where portrayed in cinema and they were showing how for the most part, they used white jewish men with a tan and a wig to portray them,

Posted By: JoliePoufiasse
Date Posted: Mar 01 2014 at 11:07am
Originally posted by Midna Midna wrote:

Anyway, notice how the audience doesn't start booing at "cannot accept this award" but begin booing at "the treatment of American Indians." Ermm

In the documentary, they were saying that the response in the audience was of utter shock. People gasping, their eyes bugging out...
No one could believe it. It was a huge coup.

Posted By: naturesgift
Date Posted: Mar 01 2014 at 4:51pm
so basically they lost that fight!

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