Oscars apologize to Sacheen Littlefeather, 49 years after she was mocked for declining Marlon Brando's award on his behalf

Oscars apologize to Sacheen Littlefeather, 49 years after she was mocked for declining Marlon Brando's award on his behalf
In 1973, Sacheen Littlefeather took the Oscars stage at Marlon Brando’s behest to decline the best actor award for his role in 'The Godfather' (Valerie Macon, Getty Images, YouTube/Oscars, Brenda Chase/Online USA, Getty Images)

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA: Almost after half a century, The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and Sciences finally apologized to Sacheen Littlefeather for the backlash she had to endure after she took the stage at Marlon Brando’s behest to decline the best actor award for his role in 'The Godfather'. Littlefeather took the stage while wearing a buckskin dress and moccasins, becoming the first Native American woman ever to do so at the Academy Awards. 

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The historical moment became a victim of instant criticism, and it became a permanent mark with which Littlefeather had to live with. While speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, she revealed that The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on Monday, August 15, invited her to an evening of conversation, healing, and celebration, scheduled for September 17. The letter, penned by the Academy president David Rubin explained that her speech was "A powerful statement that continues to remind us of the necessity of respect and the importance of human dignity. The abuse you endured because of this statement was unwarranted and unjustified. The emotional burden you have lived through and the cost to your own career in our industry are irreparable. For too long the courage you showed has been unacknowledged. For this, we offer both our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration." Check out the acceptance speech made by Littlefeather below.

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Sacheen Littlefeather was stunned after the apology

While talking about the apology, Littlefeather also revealed that Brando ordered her not to touch the Oscar statuette and the show producer Howard Koch restricted her remarks to 60 seconds under threat of arrest. But for her, the apology was a big deal. She told THR, "I never thought I'd live to see the day I would be hearing this, experiencing this. When I was at the podium in 1973, I stood there alone." 

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Actress Sacheen Littlefeather of television show
Actress Sacheen Littlefeather of television show "Reel Injun" speaks during the PBS portion of the 2010 Summer TCA Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 5, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

She further explained how people need to keep the humor alive as she said, it is "profoundly heartening to see how much has changed since I did not accept the Academy Award 50 years ago. Regarding the Academy's apology to me, we Indians are very patient people - it´s only been 50 years! We need to keep our sense of humor about this at all times. It's our method of survival." The Academy Museum event that will take place in Los Angeles will place Littlefeather with producer Bird Runningwater, the co-chair of the Academy's Indigenous Alliance. 

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