Lily Gladstone loses out to Emma Stone at Oscars as Hollywood misses chance to make history

Killers of the Flower Moon star Lily Gladstone and Poor Things actress Emma Stone.

Killers of the Flower Moon star Lily Gladstone has lost out on the Best Actress Oscar to Poor Things star Emma Stone, and Hollywood has missed an opportunity to make history.

Viewers waited with baited breath during Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony (10 March) to find who would take the coveted Best Actress prize, with 37-year-old Gladstone and 35-year-old Emma Stone considered the top two contenders.

Ultimately, Stone was awarded the accolade for her role as Bella Baxter in Yorgos Lanthimos’ black comedy, Poor Things – which also took home awards for Best Production Design, Best Makeup, and Best Costume Design.

Had Lily Gladstone won the award for her portrayal of Mollie Burkhart, a survivor of the 1920s Osage Indian murders, in Martin Scorsese’s Western crime drama, she would have become the first Native American woman to have ever won in the Best Actress category.

Gladstone, who has Blackfeet and Nez Perce heritage, had already made history simply by being nominated for the gong, as no other Native American actress has ever been shortlisted for the award.

In addition, Gladstone would have become the first gender-diverse performer to be awarded Best Actress at the Oscars, as she refers to herself as “middle-gendered” and uses both she and they pronouns.

Lily Gladstone as Mollie in Killers of the Flower Moon.
Lily Gladstone as Mollie in Killers of the Flower Moon. (Paramount Pictures)

“In most Native languages, most Indigenous languages, Blackfeet included, there are no gendered pronouns. There is no he/she, there’s only they,” Gladstone told People in December.

“It’s kind of being middle-gendered, I guess… I’ve always known I’m comfortable claiming being a woman, but I never feel more than when I’m in a group of all women that I’m not fully this either,” they added during a conversation with The New York Times in January. 

Emma Stone, meanwhile, bagged her second Best Actress Oscar, after winning in the category for the first time in 2017, for her Ryan Gosling co-starring musical film, La La Land.

Emma Stone holds her Best Actress Oscar.
Emma Stone won Best Actress at the 2024 Oscars. (Getty/Arturo Holmes)

The result has sparked some intense debate on social media and in the press, with The Telegraph claiming that Gladstone’s loss “shames Hollywood”, and The Independent arguing that Stone’s win “poses questions about what art we choose to celebrate”.

“Emma was wonderful in Poor Things. Really she was. But I cannot get [over] the screams and pain Lily Gladstone showed in Killers of the Flower Moon,” wrote on social media user.

“That forever is engrained in my memory I can still hear the screams. That’s why I thought Lily should win.”

“I think Emma Stone is fabulous, so please don’t take this as shade toward her, but good lord, Lily Gladstone should have won,” a second wrote.

A third explained their thought that the issue isn’t Emma Stone’s win, but rather Hollywood’s lack of roles for Native American actors.

“We need more roles for Native actors,” they wrote.

“We should be looking forward to Lily Gladstone’s next performance and believing that she can get another shot; instead, many of us are wondering if Hollywood has the capacity to create another significant role. That notion needs to change.”

Though she didn’t leave this awards’ season as an Oscar winner, Lily Gladstone has plenty to feel proud about.

In January, they became the first Indigenous person to win a Golden Globe for Best Actress.

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