For the first time in its history, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has honored a Native American actor with the Oscar award.
In what is seen as the Academy’s attempt to embrace diversity, it announced that Cherokee-American actor Wes Studi has been selected for the honorary award for career achievement.
He is one of three veteran film personalities to receive honorary prizes at the annual Governors Awards ceremony on October 27, along with filmmakers David Lynch and Lina Wertmuller.
The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award will be presented to actress Geena Davis.
The Governors Awards recognizes individuals who have devoted themselves to a lifetime of artistic accomplishment and brought outstanding contributions to our industry, and beyond, said Academy President John Bailey.
Studi, 71, has been recognized nearly half a century after Marlon Brando declined his Oscar for The Godfather in protest against Hollywood’s treatment of Native Americans.
“I am deeply honored and humbled. I finally get to say “I’d like to thank the Academy,” an elated Studi responded to the news on Twitter.
Wes Studi, who has appeared in more than 30 films portraying strong Native American characters with poignancy and authenticity, is best known for his roles in “Dances with Wolves” and “The Last of the Mohicans”.
Born and raised in Nofire Hollow, Oklahoma, Studi became deeply involved with Native American politics and activism after a tour of military service in Vietnam.
Lynch, 73, is a filmmaker, musician and artist. “The Elephant Man”, directed by him, received eight Oscar® nominations.
A director known for focusing on political social issues, Wertmüller became the first woman to receive an Academy Award nomination for Directing for her film, “Seven Beauties.”
Davis, who won an Oscar for her supporting performance in “The Accidental Tourist” (1988), has been a passionate advocate for gender equality in media.
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