Entertainment

It’s 2019 And Hollywood Finally Awarded An Oscar To A Native American For The First Time

In 1973, Marlon Brando famously declined his Oscar for his role in “The Godfather,” to take a stance against Hollywood’s treatment of Native Americans. Actor and activist, Sacheen Littlefeather famously went on stage to refuse the award on Brando’s behalf at the ceremony. It’s only taken a mere 46 years since that day, but this year, a Native American actor finally received the recognition he deserves and was awarded an Oscar for his talent. 

Hollywood’s complicated relationship with Native Americans goes back to the industry’s earliest movies set in the Wild West.

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Sacheen Littlefeather respectfully declining an Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando, 1973. He was nominated for his role in The Godfather. He declined the award because of the unfair treatment of Native Americans in the film industry. Sacheen, president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee, was sent in his place to adress the problems going on, why Brando declined the award and delivered a beautiful speech. Marlon Brando: “I don’t think that people generally realise what the motion picture industry has done to the American Indian, as a matter of fact, all ethnic groups, all minorities, all non-whites. And people just simply don’t realise, just take it for granted that that’s the way people are going to be presented and these clichés are just, I mean on this network every night, well perhaps not every night, but you can see silly renditions of human behaviour, the leering Filipino houseboy, the wily Japanese, the kook or the gook, black man, stupid Indian. It just goes on and on. And people actually don’t realise how deeply people are injured by seeing themselves represented, not so much the adults, who are already injured to that kind of pain and pressure, but children. Indian children seeing Indians represented as savage, ugly, as nasty, viscous, treacherous, drunken. They grow up only with a negative image of themselves and it lasts a lifetime.”

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Nearly 50 years ago, Marlon Brando decided to make good use of his privileged position to decline the Academy Award as a way to protest the mistreatment of Native American actors in the film industry. When Sacheen Littlefeather came to deliver the speech, she told the listeners of the program about the racially-based aggression she experienced including how actor John Wayne was held back by security because he was outraged by Littlefeather. 

It only took Hollywood nearly 50 years, but this weekend, the Academy finally recognized the first Native American actor with an award.

Credit: siouxpergirl92 / Instagram

During Sunday’s Governors Awards, a special ceremony that hands out honorary Oscars for lifetime achievement and humanitarian causes, the Native American actor and Vietnam war veteran was given an honorary award for career achievement. 

Wes Studi’s career has spanned nearly 30 years and it hasn’t always been easy.

Credit: united_historians / Instagram

Studi, a Vietnam War veteran who was an advocate for Native American issues before he pursued a career as an actor, first appeared in a small role in Kevin Costner’s “Dances With Wolves,” but made a searing impression as the villain Magua in Michael Mann’s 1992 epic “The Last of the Mohicans.” His casting as the leading character in Walter Hill’s “Geronimo: An American Legend” (1993) was a milestone for Hollywood —some studios at the time demanded that Hill cast a white actor in the lead role. 

Though Studi was featured in many films, he had never been nominated for an award over the course of his career.

Credit: siouxpergirl92 / Instagram

Though Studi has featured in many projects centered on Native American history (“Into the West,” “The New World,” “Hostiles”), he has also been one of Hollywood’s most reliable and memorable character actors for a generation, with a varied portfolio of work, including a role as a grizzled cop in “Heat” (1995), a mysterious superhero in “Mystery Men” (1999), and an alien patriarch in “Avatar” (2009). Studi, who this weekend became the first Native American actor to win an Oscar, had never even been nominated over the course of his long career. 

Christian Bale, who presented Studi with the award, put a finer point on the issue and called out all the people in the room.

“Too few opportunities in film have gone to Native or indigenous artists, and we’re a room full of people who can change that,” said Christian Bale, Studi’s Hostiles co-star, who presented him with the Oscar. “I’d simply like to say, it’s about time,” said Studi, who delivered much of his speech in Cherokee. “It’s been a wild and wonderful ride, and I’m really proud to be here tonight as the first indigenous Native American to receive an Academy Award. It’s a humbling honor to receive an award for something I love to do.”

The Governor Awards were ideated as a standalone ceremony —separate from the Oscars, to create a free space for winners and presenters to speak and be celebrated with no time restraints.

Credit: www.oscars.org

The honorary Oscar used to be given out as part of the main ceremony. It was a stately portion of the broadcast that required a long introduction, a grand video montage of the honoree’s work, and usually a rambling speech from the winner. In 2009, concerns about long-running times led to the creation of the Governors Awards, a non-televised ceremony held at the Grand Ballroom of the Hollywood and Highland Center.

Taking the special awards out of the hugely televised ceremony —and the hands of aggrieved network-TV executives— has actually been a benefit for the Oscars, lending the Governors Awards their own atmosphere of genuine acclaim where the winners and presenters can speak a little more candidly and without commercially motivated time restrictions.

Meanwhile, fellow honorees Lina Wertmüller and Geena Davis called for gender parity in Hollywood.

Credit: www.oscars.org

“She would like to change the Oscar to a feminine name,” Isabella Rossellini said, translating Italian director Lina Wertmüller’s acceptance speech for her honorary Oscar. “She would like to call it ‘Anna.’ Women in the room, please scream, ‘We want Anna, a female Oscar!’”

Wertmüller’s speech was the capstone of a night devoted to upending some of Hollywood’s most exclusionary traditions and celebrating some of its outsiders. Not only was Studi the first Native American to be recognized by the Academy, but Lina Wertmüller became the first woman ever to receive a best director Oscar nomination when she was recognized for 1976’s Seven Beauties.

“How do you correct centuries of patriarchal domination?” the screenwriter, producer, and director, Jane Campion asked. “It started with Lina Wertmüller.” 

Credit: @ScottFeinberg / Twitter

Campion, together with Little Women director Greta Gerwig, spoke on the history of women nominated for best director by the Academy. “It’s a very short history, more of a haiku,” Campion said, noting that 350 men have been nominated for best director, versus five for women —including herself and Gerwig, who called Wertmüller “a godmother to us all.”

‘Thelma and Louise’ star Geena Davis called out the industry on the very few opportunities of empowerment given to women.

Credit: www.oscars.org

Also during the black-tie dinner, Geena Davis, became the 39th recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, which celebrates “outstanding contributions to humanitarian causes” for building upon her acting career in films like “The Accidental Tourist,” “Beetlejuice,” “Thelma & Louise,” and “A League of Their Own” to become an advocate for gender equality in media.

Davis delivered a version of the gender-parity pitch she has made in recent years, speaking this time to the industry group gathered in the Dolby Ballroom. “Thelma and Louise made me realize how few opportunities we give women to come out of a movie feeling excited and empowered by the female characters,” Davis said. “The message we are sending is that men and boys are far more valuable to us than women and girls. Whatever you’re working on right now, boost the number of female characters…and then, cast me!”

Each year there is a lot of debate over who should receive these Honorary Oscars, as well as the Hersholt and the Irving J. Thalberg Memorial Award (which was not given this year). Governors come prepared to the meeting to advocate for their choices and a well-researched and delivered presentation can make a big difference. Afterward, candidates must receive a certain threshold of votes. No matter the process, one can’t argue that the achievements of this group of filmmakers meet the criteria of what appeared to be the prevailing sentiment at the Governors Awards—that the event was a chance to right past wrongs, to fill in the many gaps of Academy history, and all we can say is; at long last.

READ: “Roma” Wins Three Oscars At The 2019 Academy Awards

The Best And Worst National Anthem Performances Of All Time

Entertainment

The Best And Worst National Anthem Performances Of All Time

CavBuffaloSoldier /Youtube

Belting out any song in your best voice can be tough stuffings. But when it comes to performing the “Star-Spangled Banner” only singers in a completely different league of their own can actually do the national anthem justice. The songs poetic lyrics are notoriously difficult because of its wide range. So of course, naturally, in the decades of performances in which “Star-Spangled Banner” has been song at sporting events and the like, there have been some mishaps. 

This year, both Shakira and J.Lo are set to perform at the Super Bowl’s halftime show while Demi Lovato will make a career come back by singing the national anthem for millions of viewers. Here’s a look at all of the times singers have rocked and flubbed the national anthem.

That time the Dixie Chicks did a beautiful country rendition of the song.

Fans of the Dixie Chicks fell further in love with the country music stars when they stuck to the original lyrics and sentiment of the song when they performed at Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003. 

When Whitney Houston gave a GOAT performance back in the 90s.

The queen of pop reigned supreme back in the 90s and thanks to her outstanding vocal range she had the full anthem in the bag. During the 1991 Super Bowl XXV,  Houston sang and hit each and every note. Not only that, she recorded the song and released it as a single and when 9/11 happened she re-released the single and gave all of her earnings to charity. 

In 1983, when Marvin Gaye gave the national anthem a whirl and blew our minds.

Twenty years ago, the beloved “Aint No Mountain High Enough” singer took the anthem to the next level. The singer’s  1983 NBA All-Star performance had a traditional MoTown feel and to this day is celebrated. In fact, his rendition was used in a 2008 Nike commercial featuring the 2008 U.S. Olympic basketball team.

When Chloe and Halle gave the classic ballad a twist of their own.

Back in 2017, the sister duo stole breaths at the NFL Draft Kick Off when the two sang “America the Beautiful”.  Beyonce did us a solid by discovering them.

That time Lady Gaga sang the National Anthem in a fire pantsuit. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oU_UEVp2ynU

Lady Gaga rocked Stadiums at the 2016 Super Bowl. During her performance, the Lady of ladies hit all of her notes and reinvigorated both sides of the crowd. 

That time Fergie went for an eye-popping performance. 

Beloved singer Fergie did a rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner’ in 2018 that was one for the books. The strange performance went haywire when the singer attempted to go for a sultry version of the national anthem that just… did not slay. During her perfroamce, camera panned to find audience members stifling giggles and soon enough an internet meme was born. Poor Fergie.

When Roseanne Barr gave us a peek into just how problematic she was.

Back in 1990, Barr made an appearance at a Padres game and sang the national anthem. (Still no word on who booked her for this.) Barr’s cringeworthy performance, which was off-key and oddly high pitched, was made worse when fans realized she was attempting to make the patriotic song into a joke. The racist comedian dared to even spit on the pitcher’s mound as she was leaving the field. Yikes. 

When Christina Aguilera forgot the lyrics.

In 2011, Aguilera came out to sing the lyrics to our countries beloved anthem and pretty much bombed. The famous singer had been celebrated for nailing the song hundreds of times. Even when she was kid. Video of the singer proves that she started out of the gate spectacularly but ultimately, things took a turn for the worse when she skipped over lyrics and even began the song again. According to an interview with Aguilera on Elleh, the singer let her get the mood get to her so bad that she forgot most of the lyrics and tried to improve. 

Eminem’s New Song ‘Unaccommodating’ Talks About The Bombing Of Ariana Grande’s Concert And People Are Offended

Entertainment

Eminem’s New Song ‘Unaccommodating’ Talks About The Bombing Of Ariana Grande’s Concert And People Are Offended

eminem / Instagram, arianagrande/ Instagram

Eminem’s new album has been getting a lot of backlash —granted, there’s no surprise there. But there’s one song in particular that has Ariana Grande fans fuming. It looks like the real Slim Shady referenced the 2017 bombing that took place during an Ariana Grande concert in one of his songs, and Arianators are not having it. 

Eminem’s new album, which dropped Friday, includes the track “Unaccommodating.”

The song contains the lyrics: “But I’m contemplating yelling ‘bombs away’ on the game/Like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting.” Fans are steaming mad over the lyrics, which they say, make light of the Manchester Arena bombing. The 2017 terror attack killed 23 people, and happened during one of the “thank u, next” singer’s concerts.

To make things worse, the song samples an explosion sound effect, which many are calling disrespectful.

The 47-year-old raps the line against a backdrop of an explosion sound effect, and Twitter users were quick to express their disapproval. “Eminem really mocked the Manchester bombing on his new album? Does he not realize that kids and teenagers lost their lives that night?,” wrote one user. 

Others think he should stop making music altogether…

Real talk, Eminem is such a piece of trash for making a punchline out of the 22 people who died in the Manchester attack,” one person wrote on Twitter. 

The BBC reports that Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is among those who are unhappy with Eminem’s lyrics.

In a statement, the mayor further explained: “This is unnecessarily hurtful and deeply disrespectful to the families and all those affected.”

Figen Murray, whose son Martyn Hett died in the attack, also voiced her disapproval.

“Feels like he is piggybacking on the fame of Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber and says distasteful things about other celebrities,” she wrote on Twitter after being informed of the two songs on Friday, “Not clever. Totally pointless. And before all Eminem fans pounce on me, I am not interested and will not engage.”

Murray has campaigned for the introduction of Martyn’s Law, which would require venues to introduce more stringent security checks. She later deleted the tweet after receiving backlash.

“Unaccommodating” is a song off of Eminem’s new album, Music To Be Murdered by. 

Fans of the rapper have taken to social media to defend him, with some pointing out that the entirety of his album is actually about gun violence and mental health. Others reminded Eminem’s critics that the rapper helped raise money at the time of the Manchester attack in order to support the victims and their families.

Eminem previously pledged his support to victims of the bombing in 2017.

The rapper urged fans to donate money to families who had been affected.

This is not the first time the 47-year-old has referenced the attack in song.

In a 2018 freestyle, he rapped about a brainwashed suicide bomber “seeing Ariana Grande sing her last song of the evening/And as the audience from the damn concert is leaving/Detonates the device strapped to his abdominal region.”

In a contrast to the Manchester Arena lyric, the album’s lead single, Darkness, advocates tighter gun control laws in the US.

The song and video reference the 2017 Route 91 Harvest music festival shooting in Las Vegas, in which 58 people died, with Eminem playing the role of an isolated, mentally-disturbed character who plots a murderous rampage to gain notoriety. The video ends with a montage of news reports from recent mass shootings, captioned: “When will it end? When enough people care.”

Eminem then urges fans to register to vote in the upcoming US elections, writing: “Make your voice heard and help change gun laws in America”.

The video also links to a website with information and links to various anti-gun violence organisations including Everytown For Gun Safety, March For Our Lives and Sandy Hook Promise. It’s not the first time the rapper has addressed the issue. Performing at last year’s iHeartRadio music awards, he delivered a verse attacking the National Rifle Association’s hold over politicians, rapping: “They love their guns more than our children.”