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Looking Back To When Marlon Brando Refused Oscars Award

Since Oscar Awards is the talk of the town Will Smith Slapped Chris Rock because of a joke he made to Smith's wife, let's go back to when Marlon Brando refused to receive the best actor award for The Godfather in the Oscars.

Author:Iram Martins
Reviewer:Elisa Mueller
Jun 18, 2022
A year after receiving the Academy Award for Best Actor for his career-reviving performance in The Godfather, Marlon Brandorefuses the award on March 27, 1973. The Native American actress Sacheen Littlefeather represented Brando at the ceremony, claiming that the actor "very sadly" was unable to receive the prize because he was protesting Hollywood's treatment of Native Americans in cinema.
Brando received his first Academy Award nomination for his depiction of the boorish Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, for which he is now widely regarded as the best actor of his time (1951). In this part, Brando reprised his explosive performance in the 1947 stage rendition of Tennessee Williams' play, which was the catalyst for his initial public recognition. Viva Zapata! (1952), Julius Caesar (1953), and On the Waterfront (1953) all received nominations, but it was for On the Waterfront that he received his first Academy Award (1954).

Life Of Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando was born on April 3, 1924, in Omaha, Nebraska, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most enigmatic stage and film performers of the second half of the twentieth century. As a youngster, he grew up in a sad and turbulent environment. Although Marlon Brando, Sr., was an alcoholic, his mother, who had become frustrated with her husband, went to the bottle as a result of his father's inability to control his behavior. Marlon Brando's parents divorced when he was 11 years old in 1935, according to his father. They spent two years in California with his mother, where they were taken in by her mother and raised as her own children. When his parents reunited in 1937, they relocated to Libertyville, Illinois, a hamlet north of Chicago, where Brando grew up.
He was expelled from many institutions, including the Shattuck Military Academy, for his seeming rebellious behavior when he was younger. After turning twenty, Brando relocated to New York City, where he attended the American Theater Wing Professional School, the Actor's Studio, and the New School's Dramatic Workshop, among other institutions. His famed acting instructor, Stella Adler, introduced him to the Stanislavsky Method, a style of acting that is founded on intellectual honesty, while he was a student at the latter school. The approach is referred to as "method acting" in common language. Lee Strassberg, a method mentor at the Actor's Studio, was important in developing Brando's abilities.
He began his acting career in summer stock parts in Sayville, New York, before moving to Los Angeles. His debut appearance was in the 1944 drama "Remember Mama," in which he played a minor role. He was only twenty years old at the time, and he was still honing his technique as a method actor.
In 1947, Brando made his theatrical debut as Stanley Kowalski in Elia Kazan's "A Streetcar Named Desire," which was directed by the legendary director. In 1950, Brando made his debut on the big screen in the film "The Men." The film adaptation of "Streetcar Named Desire," directed by Elia Kazan in 1951, was Brando's most significant performance as an actor to date. Brando reprised his role as Stanley Kowalski, which he had previously portrayed on the stage production. Brando was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in the film, but he was defeated by another Dutch American, Humphrey Bogart, who was nominated for his performance in the film "African Queen."
After that, Brando had three nominations for the Academy's Best Actor Award: for his work in "Viva Zapata" in 1952, his role as Julius Caesar in 1953, and his role as "On the Waterfront" in 1954. He won the award for "Julius Ceasar" in 1954. It was for his performance as Terry Malloy in the latter picture that Brando received his first Academy Award for Best Actor. During the remainder of the 1950s, Brando appeared in a number of films, none of which were as successful as or as memorable as his early parts. "Guys and Dolls," "The Tea House of the August Moon," "Sayonara," and "The Young Ones." He has also portrayed the character of Sky Masterson in "Guys and Dolls," a Japanese officer in "The Tea House of the August Moon," an Air Force commander in "Sayonara," and a Nazi officer in "The Young Ones." He was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in the film "Sayonara," but he did not win.
During the 1960s, Brando's professional life appeared to be on hiatus. Despite the fact that he participated in a handful of films, none of his performances came close to matching his previous ones. As a result of his involvement in multiple civil rights campaigns for Native Americans, as well as other causes, Brando has received several honors and awards. He looked to have lost his enthusiasm for his acting profession at this point. Brando was able to reject the claims of his detractors, who believed that his brilliant acting career had come to an end. In 1972, Francis Ford Coppola cast him as Vita Corleone in the film "The Godfather," which was directed by Coppola. Brando gave an outstanding performance and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, which he easily won. In keeping with his rebellious personality, he refused the trophy and skipped the Academy Awards ceremony in its entirety.
One of his most memorable performances came the next year, in "The Last Tango in Paris," which was one of his best-known works. The Academy nominated Brando for the Best Actor Award once more, but he was unsuccessful in his attempt to win the award. Following the two films mentioned above, Brando's cinematic career was inconsistent, and none of his subsequent roles lived up to his earlier performances. He went on to participate in a number of films, most of which were as supporting roles for other actors. Despite his advanced age, he continued to work as an actor until 2001, when he was 77 years old. "The Score" was the title of the film.
In his will, which was written after Brando's death in 2004, he named eleven children as his heirs. During his first marriage, he had a son named Christian; during his second marriage, he had two children named Miko and Rebecca; and during his third marriage, he had two children named Simon Teihotu and Cheyenne. At the end of his life, he had three children via adoption and three children by his maid, Christina Maria Ruiz. He also had three children with his maid, Christina Maria Ruiz.
Brando's renown throughout his life, as well as his self-imposed exile from Hollywood and his obesity, did not help him to become an appealing or sympathetic public figure during the last years of his life. Unfortunately, this took his attention away from the phenomenal success that he had in his acting career between the 1950s and the early 1970s. On July 1, 2004, Brando passed away at the age of eighty. He passed away at the UCLA Medical Center as a result of lung failure caused by pulmonary fibrosis. He also had congestive heart failure, diabetes, and declining vision, and he had lately been diagnosed with cancer, to name a few of his ailments.

Marlon Brando In The Godfather

Everyone can tell that Marlon Brando is a man who is not without his doubts, and in the twenty-first century, this is something that smacks you right in the middle of your brain. The actor has undoubtedly had an eventful existence, upsetting more than a few apple carts along the way, including those of the majority of the performers who have collaborated with him. One particular instance of anti-establishment behavior that we can support, however, was when he refused to accept his Academy Award for Best Actor in 1973, following his namesake performance in The Godfather.
In 1973, the actor was coming to the end of a decade that had been extremely challenging for him both professionally and emotionally. After his last two films were a financial failure, Brando's off-screen antics on Mutiny had caught up with him. He'd become something of an industry black sheep, not a big enough star to bring people, and now a famously difficult person to collaborate with. Rumors began to circulate that Brando would never again work in the entertainment industry. Because of this, the opportunity to work on The Godfather was likely seen as the final chance for the legendary but aging actor to salvage his career.
The party turned out to be quite a hoopla. The great representation of a 1940s mafia family based out of New York would cement so many careers into the annals of Hollywood history, but it would be Marlon Brando's performance as The Don who would stand out among the rest of the cast. It would be recognized by his colleagues as well as his critics, allowing him to reclaim a reputation that had appeared to be lost forever.

Marlon Brando Refused The Best Actor Award By Oscar

Marlon Brando's Best Actor Oscar win for "The Godfather" | Sacheen Littlefeather

Even though Marlon Brando had won and accepted an Academy Award for "On the Waterfront" at the 1955 Oscars, the actor did not want to be at the 1973 ceremony, which took place during the Wounded Knee Occupation in South Dakota. "On the Waterfront" was Brando's first feature film, and he was a big fan of the film. As a substitute, he dispatched an actress and activist called Sacheen Littlefeather to the ceremony, along with a prepared statement in the event that he was awarded the Oscar for his role in "The Godfather."
She ascended to the stage as soon as Brando's name was called, but she declined to receive the Oscar trophy from presenter Roger Moore because she felt it belonged to someone else. "I'm representing Marlon Brando this evening, and he has asked me to tell you in a very long speech, which I am unable to share with you right now due to time constraints, but which I will be happy to share with the press afterward, that he very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award," Littlefeather said, according to the Los Angeles Times. During gasps and boos from the crowd, she said, "And the reasons for this being the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry — please pardon me — and on television in movie reruns, as well as with recent incidents at Wounded Knee."
Brando subsequently admitted to Dick Cavett that he was "distressed" by the audience's treatment of Littlefeather during the speech, but that he eventually believed it was "a magnificent chance" to bring the matter to the public's attention.
"I don't think people appreciate what the motion picture business has done to the American Indian, and as a matter of fact, what the motion picture industry has done to all ethnicities, all minorities, and all nonwhites," he said in an interview with Cavett.
Exactly what happened to Brando's rejected Oscar remains a mystery, but according to a report published by The Wrap, Moore himself recalls taking it home after bringing it to a few post-Oscar parties. According to legend, he finally returned it to the Academy, where it was repurposed and presented to Charlie Chaplin as a replacement for a broken prize. Throughout his career, Brando has been nominated for a total of eight Academy Awards, with two of them going to him.

Marlon Brando on Rejecting His Oscar for 'The Godfather' | The Dick Cavett Show

Brando's Political Statement

Marlon Brando, the legendary actor, was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in the film "The Godfather," but he refused to accept it in order to make a political statement. A day before the Academy Awards ceremony, the late actor revealed that he would be skipping the celebration. As a substitute for himself, he dispatched actress Sacheen Littlefeather to accept the prize and draw attention to the deplorable portrayal of Native Americans in cinema.
A segment of the "Dick Cavett" television show featured a reference to the historical significance of the event. Brando didn't hold back when it came to being himself. When Cavett inquired as to if the actor had the opportunity to "do-over" his award rejection and the subsequent publicity, the actor responded that he "wouldn't have done it."
Surprisingly, the actor's portrayal of Vito Corleone in the iconic film has earned positive reviews for his performance. However, at the same time, moviegoers have commented on the prejudices and violent images in the picture.
At the time, the 49-year-old Brando spoke to Cavett about his intention to leave the film industry. Inquiring further about the situation of Native Americans, he probed further. He discussed author John Collier's "Indians of the Americas" with the show's presenter, who was himself an author.
According to Brando, "After reading the book, I learned that I understood almost nothing about the American Indian, and everything that we are taught about the American Indian is incorrect."
"It's completely wrong. When it comes to demonstrating what our relationship with the Indian was like, our school materials are terribly, even criminally deficient." Because of the serious subject matter, Marlon Brando stated that the crowd did not want Littlefeather to attend the awards event. The actor, on the other hand, continued to shine a light on the impact of the film business on Littlefeather and other Native Americans.

Marlon Brando's Representative, Littlefeather Was Blacklisted

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The actress's participation in the awards event proved to be a difficult task. The prize was initially presented to her by Roger Moore, a former Bond star, but she quickly pushed it aside in order to make Brando's speech. The producers only allowed her 60 seconds to say her piece. Brando expressed regret to Cavett for not having the opportunity to read his whole message. The lady was booed and insulted by the audience, and the actor admitted that he should have taken the brunt of the criticism. Littlefeather, on the other hand, had conflicting emotions about the whole thing. The actress was barred from working in Hollywood by directors and studios. She never returned to the industry after that.
A 2009 film, "Reel Injun," had an interview with her where she revealed that Marlon Brando was "delighted" that he had received the prize. However, she felt "abandoned" as a result of the criticism of the stunt. As Littlefeather explains in the documentary, "it was the first time someone had made a political remark during an Academy Awards ceremony." According to Marlon, he picked this year's Oscar ceremony since it was the first to be aired live across the world through satellite. I didn't have a formal evening gown, so Marlon suggested that I wear my buckskin."
In 2021, Fox News claimed that Littlefeather was terminally sick as a result of her cancer struggle. She resides in the Northern California region. According to reports, the picture grossed between $246 million and $287 million worldwide. When you take inflation into consideration, the $287 million number becomes over $2 billion. At the time of its release in 1972, this was the highest-ever grossing film in the United States.


Marlon Brando was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1973 for his role in The Godfather. Brando, on the other hand, famously boycotted the Academy Awards and was replaced by Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather. He provided her with a lengthy prepared statement to read, but she was unable to do so owing to time restrictions and instead improvised a speech that summarized Brando's emotions regarding "the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry [as well as] recent events at Wounded Knee."
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Iram Martins

Iram Martins

Iram Martins is a seasoned travel writer and explorer with over a decade of experience in uncovering the world's hidden gems. Holding a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Management from the University of Lisbon, Iram's credentials highlight his authority in the realm of travel. As an author of numerous travel guides and articles for top travel publications, his writing is celebrated for its vivid descriptions and practical insights. Iram’s passion for cultural immersion and off-the-beaten-path adventures shines through in his work, captivating readers and inspiring wanderlust. Outside of his writing pursuits, Iram enjoys learning new languages, reviewing films and TV shows, writing about celebrity lifestyles, and attending cultural festivals.
Elisa Mueller

Elisa Mueller

Elisa Mueller, a Kansas City native, grew up surrounded by the wonders of books and movies, inspired by her parents' passion for education and film. She earned bachelor's degrees in English and Journalism from the University of Kansas before moving to New York City, where she spent a decade at Entertainment Weekly, visiting film sets worldwide. With over 8 years in the entertainment industry, Elisa is a seasoned journalist and media analyst, holding a degree in Journalism from NYU. Her insightful critiques have been featured in prestigious publications, cementing her reputation for accuracy and depth. Outside of work, she enjoys attending film festivals, painting, writing fiction, and studying numerology.
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