Lily Gladstone: My Oscar nom belongs in ‘equal parts’ to Leonardo DiCaprio

Martin Scorsese, Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio cover the current issue of Variety, something of a reminder that the Killers of the Flower Moon team really didn’t get a chance to do much promotion for the film during the SAG-AFTRA strike. Lily and Leo only did a handful of interviews before the strike, which left Marty to do the bulk of the promotion. Variety got them all in the same room after the Oscar nominations came out and Leo was “snubbed.” Leo was also snubbed for a SAG nomination. I didn’t think Leo’s snubs were a huge deal because, frankly, he was the weakest link in an uneven and poorly written film. Some highlights from the Variety interview:

Lily’s parents were mad that DiCaprio was snubbed for an Oscar nom: “They were pissed. He was the first to text me congratulations, with popping confetti. I told him how upset we all were. My nomination is equal parts his. I would not have been able to do what I did without his generosity as an actor and as a human being.”

Scorsese on Leo’s work in KOTFM: “He went so far into the complexities and contradictions of a man who was so weak, so malleable, who did such unspeakable things, but who also truly loved his wife. Leo fearlessly created a true Everyman … an Everyman that people just don’t want to acknowledge. So that will endure.”

Leo on wanting to tell Ernest & Mollie’s love story: “There’s the underlying story of deception that’s occurring, but we knew there had to be a connection because, frankly, that’s what the Osage community kept telling us adamantly — that these two people did fall in love. It became incredibly corrupt, one of the most twisted love stories I’ve ever come across in my life, but all true. The challenge was how much she knew I was complicit.

Lily on playing the love story: “If you’re playing the complicity, then it doesn’t work. You play the love, and the complicity and the betrayal come out of what is built with love there. It’s hard to explain how you find chemistry between two actors. It’s there or it’s not.

Lily on writing a trigger warning for the film on social media: “That came out of a lot of conversations I’d had with the Osage. They said how thankful they were that they saw it together as a community, because they could unpack it and process it together. A lot of my Native friends were so excited and getting dressed up for the premieres and taking their nieces, and I thought, “This is also going to be really triggering for them.” As soon as I could speak [after the strike], it felt like that was the most important thing to say… There’s such a backlash now against being a good and decent person. We’re not telling anybody not to watch the film. It’s just, when you watch it, be aware this is going to be an experience. It’s an entertaining, arresting film, but a lot of people I talked to who had seen it alone outside of the community said they felt lonely and triggered afterwards.

Leo on whether he thinks Ernest was smart: “I went through a puzzling moment at the beginning of this shoot. I was struck by how slow Ernest was in his articulation. His writing seemed on the verge of having some sort of mental issue. At the same time, he was incredibly duplicitous and calculating. He was also manipulated by his uncle, who was the puppeteer of these heinous acts. I had a discussion in my own mind, wanting to make him culpable without going too extreme in either direction. It needed to be somewhere in the middle.

Leo has seen Barbenheimer: “Saw them both in the theater. That may have been the last theatrical film that I saw. But you just reminded me — I saw “Blue Whales: Return of the Giants” in the Imax theater in downtown L.A.”

Lily on missing Indigenous women: “It’s ironic that the FBI was formed on a case solving the murder of Indigenous people, when now they’re the only governing body that has authority to do something and they don’t. It’s always our communities that are searching for our missing women, that are finding answers. Our sovereignty has been stripped back to the point that we can’t prosecute those who kill our people on our tribal land. That’s all the feds. So it’s important that the FBI was formed solving Native murders, but it would have been tragic for people to think that they were still doing that. It just doesn’t happen.

Scorsese on the election year: “This is the most dangerous time I’ve ever lived through. I was born during World War II and lived through the Cuban missile crisis and all that, but it was never like this.

[From Variety]

Re: whether Ernest Burkhart was smart, conniving, or just an idiot being manipulated – frankly, that was a huge problem for the film. They couldn’t make up their mind whether Ernest was a gullible moron or a charming sociopath, and frankly, Leo’s performance wasn’t worthy of any awards. Using Ernest as the lead, and centering the story mostly through Ernest was deeply problematic. If I’m being fair, I understand why Scorsese and Leo wanted to frame it through “the love story,” but they should have left more room to show the investigation, the FBI, the trial and more. The last forty minutes of the film makes everything feel so compressed, like the FBI shows up and solves the crimes in a week. I’ll say one nice thing – Leo and Lily have chemistry with each other on and off screen, and you can really feel how much they like each other in real life.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.

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19 Responses to “Lily Gladstone: My Oscar nom belongs in ‘equal parts’ to Leonardo DiCaprio”

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  1. Normades says:

    The day he really thinks he was good in a role he’ll be hustling for his second Oscar like Emma Stone.
    For this one I think he’s enjoying his role as elder power player star maker.

    • DK says:

      I want to think this, and believe he was in earnest, but his whole everywhere-Lily-Gladstone-was vibe just gives such big Justin-TimberIake-whenever-anyone-else-is-getting-attention energy, I can’t help but be a little cynical about it.

      I kind of think he really thought he would be an Oscar contender while making this film (Leo as star? Plus Martin Scorcese? I’m sure he thought he was a sure thing), and then when people (correctly) reacted to the film with the “why center a story about a horrible tragedy for indigenous people on…a white man?!” critique, he realized they F’ed it up a bit and he needed to change his award szn goals and his strategy.

      So while I’d love to believe his next thought was “Well at least I can support Lily Gladstone,” I’m too cynical to not think it was also a little “And this way I can stay in the conversation.”

      • Normades says:

        I agree with you. I’m not saying he’s supporting her just out of the kindness of his own heart but because it’s also a flex of his own star power player status. I think he quickly saw this wasn’t going to be his year and ”graciously” stepped back. If he thought he had a chance he’d be out there hustling for himself like Stone.
        I think he’s also glad not to be in the limelight so his personal life won’t be brought up again this year (plus his current squeeze is still married so that’s a bit messy).

  2. Becks1 says:

    So I haven’t seen the movie as I’ve mentioned before, so these comments are based more on interviews like this one:

    its clear Lily G and Leo have a fantastic relationship and that he fully supports her and is thrilled she’s getting all this recognition. I’m always kind of ambivalent on Leo – I know his dating history is laughable/sad depending on your perspective – but I’ve never really had an opinion on him as a person beyond that, I don’t think? Like I’m trying to think of what I think of Leo as a person and it basically is “good actor, dates young women, supposedly pro environment.” But their relationship is raising my opinion of him – you can just so clearly see how he’s all about promoting HER and the movie and not himself for this one, and that is really nice to see in Hollywood.

    I don’t think Leo was campaigning for an Oscar really at all here so I don’t think he feels he was snubbed or anyone thinks he was snubbed. It feels like his focus was the movie and Lily.

    I do love reading things about how actors view their characters and get into a script, so that part of this was interesting to me – about walking that line with Ernest – was he culpable, was he manipulated, was he in love, was he evil – or some combination thereof?

    and I also really appreciate Lily’s comments about how the FBI was founded on trying to solve these murders of the Osage women but it has not continued to protect and defend those women (and others) decades later.

    • SAS says:

      Agreed Becks! If I think of Leo, his deep and genuine female friendships with Kate Winslet and now Lily Gladstone do make me think more highly of him.

      I also agree with Norma, if he wanted to campaign for himself, he’d be campaigning for himself. It’s nice that his colleagues have nice things to say, but I would hope for the attention to stay on Lily for the duration (which he’s doing a great job of supporting).

    • AlpineWitch says:

      I agree with your analysis Becks! 👍

      Plus, am I the only one who thought it strange Leo Di Caprio actually ‘goes’ to the movies?!?! I’d bet his security team seals off the theatre when he does…

  3. OnThisDay says:

    I’m saddened to see two WOC-Lily and America- do this work of affirming white co-stars, saying how wrong it is that white co-stars didn’t get nominated. This is their moment, and instead this kind of racialized emotional labor is taking place.
    Similarly, this strange narrative about a racist murderer is also about affirming white goodness. Did he love her? What part of this is love? If he could be convinced to murder her for profit, or any reason, it ain’t love! That’s an effort at softening racist hatred beneath surface of what may have been some affection. We don’t feel the need to frame stories of white husbands killing white wives as love stories. And I don’t care that some Osage people think it’s a love story. That’s sounds like a trauma response.
    We need conversations in this country about racism in intimate relationships (spouces/partners, parent-child, deep platonic friendships), and how the latter doesn’t nullify the former.

    • Kitten says:

      But isn’t there kind of an emotional labor inherent in being the first Native American woman to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar? Like, there’s a lot of pressure for her to represent her community in this ground-breaking moment–a lot resting on her shoulders. I think we need to allow her the grace and space to put that mantle down for a second and to speak supportively about her co-star like any other actor would in her position.

      And I hope I’m not stepping out of my lane here because I do understand the impossibly fine line; that delicate dance that is foisted upon WOC who break ground. But ultimately I just want to support Lily in everything she does without assigning other motives. Here, she seems to be expressing her mutually respectful relationship with DiCaprio–it doesn’t feel like she’s ignoring this momentous moment in favor of her white male costar–but rather graciously bringing him along. IDK…maybe I’m off-base….

      • OnThisDay says:

        Kitten, she’s not simply acknowledging the team dynamic needed for a good performance. She’s saying he’s due what she’s due. He deserves a nomination because she earned one.
        And she may sincerely feel this way, but that’s still sad. When do white people act like this when they work on films run by Black people and POC? Think of why that’s the case? Because they are allowed the own what they earn.

      • OnThisDay says:

        She’s not engaging in race-neutral labor here. This is the attitude of gratitude expected of us to maintain opportunities. It’s a way of taking down so we aren’t perceived as “uppity.” And we sometimes sincerely feel that much gratitude because opportunities are rare- and are too often accessible through white people.

        That is a qualitatively different kind of work than representing your community as a first.

      • Kitten says:

        Ok thanks for this and that makes sense to me. It sucks because I feel like when WOC achieve excellence, they get scrutinized on all sides: from their community, from their professional peers, from the public, the media etc. I just feel sympathetic towards this idea of having to be everything to everyone. But your explanation DOES make sense–I get it, and I’m gonna sit with what you said for while.

    • Kelly says:

      Yeah I saw this headline and just wanted to scream. Lily, don’t minimize yourself, especially for that idiot!

      I held off on watching this because I was hesitant to watch a native story so obviously about the white men around them, but I did this weekend because a coworker who is part Osage has been raving about it. I get where she’s coming from-this story hasn’t been widely told and the parts with the native Americans are brilliant. Lily was so goo d in such an understated way. But the film overall was just a huge mess and it felt so gross that the majority of it was focused on the white people.

  4. melissa says:

    Ugh I hate this narrative. No YOU earned this Lily. Stand up and just own your awesomeness. Just because you were given a role by men doesn’t mean you have to continue to bow down to them.

  5. Bumblebee says:

    Sounds like they have a good working relationship. How many times as a woman working with men does that happen? And she’s behaving the way most women are raised in our culture, gracious, friendly, modest, everyone gets credit. I can’t fault her for that. As she gets older, perhaps she will break out of that box. It is interesting how differently Leo treats women professionally vs personally. Doesn’t improve my opinion of him though. The people closest to him should be treated the best.

    • Kirsten says:

      I actually don’t know that there is a difference between how he treats women professionally vs. personally? I seriously side-eye his dating habits, but he seems pretty clear with girlfriends that he’s not looking for a serious relationship and I don’t think he treats them poorly.

  6. girl_ninja says:

    I have not seen Lily’s movie but I am really happy that she is getting the recognition for her role. I am definitely one to side eye Leo with regard to his dating proclivities, but his support for Lily throughout this award season has been really lovely to see.

  7. from another place says:

    Lily was the best part of the film. & while she does have chemistry with Leo (or Ernest, I guess), I never bought the movie as a love story.

  8. Anonymous says:

    How sad that Lily Gladstone can’t accept that she was nominated in her OWN right, and that Leo does not deserve credit for HER nomination.

  9. julie jules says:

    Saw the film. Wasn’t as well done as I initially hoped. Neither was it quite as bad as has been said.

    Lily was star of the show no doubt. Absolute perfection. I’m reading her comments as a gracious nod to a major star with infinite power. Other new on the scene/in the spotlight actors have done the same. Margot Robbie with Wolf of Wall St comes to mine. It’s just the game.

    It is a shame some can’t simply enjoy their nomination (or win) at face value without the added “responsibility” of being the first this or the first that – should they choose ofc. But this is the flip side of a culture which highlights racial, ethnic, and gender identity. It’s one or the other.