What happened between John Wayne and Sacheen Littlefeather at the 1973 Academy Awards?
John Wayne tried to physically attack Sacheen Littlefeather on the Oscars night of 1973. Oscars night and acceptance speech can be very memorable as they can be directed towards or against some of the top priority political events, activities, or about ensuring equal rights.
Leonardo DiCaprio used his Oscars win to give an insightful speech on climate change, Jaoquin Pheonix after his Joker movie win used his acceptance speech power to advocate for animal rights.
But the most memorable and controversial take in the history of Academy Awards will be Marlon Brando’s Oscars win in 1973 for The Godfather and rejecting his award to give the stage speech opportunity to indigenous representative Sacheen Littlefeather.
What Happened Between John Wayne and Sacheen Littlefeather?
In 1973, Marlon Brando won the Oscars for Best Male Actor for his performance in The Godfather.
He asked Sacheen Littlefeather to walk onto the stage and kindly reject the award for him and make a bold statement about indigenous rights and their harsh treatment in Hollywood.
Sacheen delivered a short speech and started with Brando’s personal statement on why he won’t be receiving the award until changes happen in the movie industry he works for.
Littlefeather’s speech was taken with claps and boos and she was continuously booed before she asked for the audience’s excuse for the humiliation.
This Oscars speech was a month after the Occupy Wounded Knee incident when 200 Sioux activists seized South Dakota and asked the government to treat them fairly as per the signed treaties of the 90s.
The Oscars stage was in fact a grand stage with over 80 million viewers to pass the bold statement that changes are demanded and the movie industry should not be more discriminating.
Marlon Brando rejected his Oscars award in 1973 as he believed the stage could welcome an indigenous representative Sacheen Littlefeather to pass a statement about the preservation of equal rights for indigenous people in Hollywood.
He didn’t attend the ceremony and send Littlefeather instead to reject his award with a personally written letter sent along with her.
The Oscars team didn’t allow the letter from Brando to be read at the ceremony but it was later published.
John Wayne Attacking Sacheen Littlefeather
John Wayne, famously associated with killing indigenous people in the cinema tried to attack Sacheen Littlefeather during the stage speech.