‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Star Lily Gladstone to Campaign for Lead Actress at the Oscars

Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” has been riding high on Oscar buzz since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, and Lily Gladstone’s eye-opening turn as a tragedy-stricken Indigenous woman in the midst of an Osage slaughter in the 1920s has been at the forefront of those loud whispers.

Gladstone’s campaign announced her “Killers” bid will be for leading actress (surprising many who thought PR would opt for a supporting-actress slot, a seemingly easier category to win this year), and if the “Certain Women” standout were to win, she would become the first Best Actress Oscar winner who identifies as Indigenous. (There have only been three Best Actress candidates who have historically suited such: Merle Oberon for 1936’s “The Dark Angel”, Keisha Castle-Hughes for 2003’s “Whale Rider,” and 2018’s “Roma” lead, Yalitza Aparicio.)

Gladstone made a splash in Kelly Reichardt’s 2016 indie “Certain Women,”, where she amassed several awards and nominations, including winning the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s Best Supporting Actress prize, as well as an Independent Spirit Award nomination. Her other credits include Reichardt’s “First Cow,” the FX on Hulu critical darling “Reservation Dogs” and “Fancy Dance,” a Sundance premiere which premiered to rock-solid reviews.

The actress joins a bevy of multi-nominated Oscar favorites vying for a surprisingly crowded-looking category this year, including Margot Robbie for “Barbie,” Emma Stone for “Poor Things,” Carey Mulligan for “Maestro,” and Annette Bening for “Nyad.” And look sharp for Fantasia Barrino in the musical movie version of “The Color Purple” as the role of Celie has never not been nominated whenever portrayed in any U.S. medium, with Cynthia Erivo and La Chanze both winning Tonys for portraying Alice Walker’s famous heroine.

Scorsese’s 3 hour and 26 minute epic is widely expected to be a major player during this year’s awards season, with possible nods expected for Gladstone and her costars Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, as well as for director-cowriter Scorsese, who adapted David Grann’s heralded book with Oscar winner Eric Roth (“Forrest Gump”).

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is slated to open nationwide in cinemas on Oct. 20, with a streaming premiere to be determined shortly thereafter.

Variety was the first to report Gladstone’s campaign.

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