For Gladstone, certainly the presence of many Indigenous people in the production did a lot to increase her comfort level: “The film had built such a strong safety net of Osage voices in every department around the whole production. So I never felt like I had to be alone or speak out of turn or speak for Osage people.”
Gladstone comes across as self-assured but she admits she did become a little starstruck, getting wobbly or “the shakes”, as she puts it, when she first stood before the camera for the first time doing scenes opposite movie legends Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio. But she says Di Caprio put her at ease: “Leo had invited me over for dinner beforehand to get through the ‘star-struckedness’ of it all – he ‘unstruck’ me,” she laughs. “Later down the road, [the] shakes came back when I was in front of him… and really quickly, you just find yourself embraced and invited in and just part of the collaborative process to get to the truth of what these scenes are about.”
Unlike some Academy campaigns designed to serve an actor’s vanity, Gladstone appears to be participating in something bigger. She comes across as a very sincere trailblazer in her efforts to get the US film industry to represent the Native American people fairly and responsibly – and that authenticity, as much as her highly praised acting, may well help her win an Oscar.
Talking Movies’ Tom Brook’s interview with Oscar nominee Lily Gladstone will be on News throughout the day on Thursday 1 February.
The 96th Academy Awards are broadcast on ABC on 10 March.
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