Lily Gladstone’s Oscar Loss Isn’t Holding Her Back: ‘I Have Work Coming Out and I Have Work Lined Up’

Missing out on making (even more) Oscars history is ancient history to Lily Gladstone.

The “Killers of the Flower Moon” breakout could have been the first Native-American actress to win the Best Actress Academy Award — if not for Emma Stone’s physical and soul-baring turn as Bella Baxter in “Poor Things.” For now, being the first Native-American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award will have to do, but with all the projects and opportunities Gladstone’s got on her plate after “Killers” — including being a recent part of Greta Gerwig’s jury at Cannes — it’s easy to imagine more awards are on the way.

“I mean, regardless of how things turned out, I have work coming out and I have work lined up,” Gladstone said of her Oscar loss in a recent interview with Empire Magazine. “And I have this beautiful film ‘Fancy Dance’ queued up. I was just so grateful knowing that — especially because ‘Killers Of The Flower Moon’ opened up this space on-screen. And now audiences want to see and fall in love with us.”

From “Reservation Dogs” to “Under the Bridge” and now “Fancy Dance” — a limited release on June 21 and streaming on Apple TV+ on June 28 — Native representation appears to be growing, but as Lily Gladstone chooses roles, she doesn’t feel all the characters and narratives she explores need to be tied to just the one part of her identity.

“I am having conversations about doing things that have some levity,” she said, “because while I want my work to be meaningful, I really like getting creative and going against the grain. I like black comedy. Before it’s all over, it would be really fun to do an action film. It’s all of the things you dream of for yourself when you first become an actor, but unless they were looking for someone Native, I didn’t see myself getting to play those characters. There’s way more diversity in the things I’m being approached for now and what I’m being offered.”

And what are some of those projects she’s being offered? Gladstone said to Empire, “I’m so excited about the project I was offered [‘The Memory Police’] that was adapted [from Yoko Ogawa’s 1994 sci-fi novel] by Charlie Kaufman. He’s my favorite screenwriter. I loved getting a call from [director] Reed Morano [about it], who I just fell in love with immediately, and hearing a story which I’m excited about as an artist. It’s a decentralized indictment of totalitarianism, authoritarianism, and fascism, but in a very Charlie Kaufman way. It’s a beyond-my-wildest-dream thing that’s coming true, getting to jump into this process. And I’m doing an ensemble romantic comedy — it’s deeply indie, which I love — which will be announced very soon.”

“Native performers are showing up in any role in any genre or budget,” said Gladstone later in the interview. “We’ve got people doing grounded, textured indies, and we’ve got Marvel superheroes — the performance Alaqua Cox gave in [Disney+ Marvel series] ‘Echo’. I think that as long as we’re out there, and we’re doing it, it’s activism. If you break it down, 95 percent were wiped out. We’re the ones who are still here. So in any form we pop up in, and any story we tell…it’s changing people’s perception. Art gives us a framework to understand society.”

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