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Lily Gladstone’s Best Performances: ‘Certain Women,’ ‘Reservation Dogs,’ ‘Flower Moon,’ and More

Lily Gladstone has already made history. When the Piegan Blackfeet and Nez Perce actor received an Oscar nomination for their searing performance in Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” on January 23, she became the first Native American actor to receive a Best Actress nomination at the Oscars, and the second Native American performer to receive an Oscar nomination overall, after Chief Dan George’s Supporting Actor Nomination for 1970’s “Little Big Man.”

Should Gladstone win the award, it would make them the first Native American performer to ever win an acting Oscar — an incredible achievement, albeit not one that erases the Oscars’ troubled history with Indigenous people. But regardless of what happens, Gladstone’s incredible work in the film as Mollie Burkhart, a real life Osage woman in the 1920s whose husband Ernest (Leonardo DiCaprio) was a conspirator in a series of mass murders of her people — stands on its own as one of the great performances of the past year. And Gladstone, previously a well-respected indie actor who rose to fame through films like “Certain Women,” has used her newfound spotlight to tirelessly advocate for the importance of spotlighting Indigenous people and voices on film.

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“It is incredible to have had [that experience] on ‘Reservation Dogs,’ it’s incredible to have had it on ‘Fancy Dance,’” Gladstone told IndieWire’s Kate Erbland in a November interview. “It was almost unheard of to have it on [a] Scorsese [film]. It changes the work entirely, just knowing that you have community all around you. I think a lot of us, when we work outside of Native-created spaces, a lot of times when we’re there, we’re the only one. Our voices exist in community. It’s a lot to put on one person to be the voice for such a large body, of a very diverse group of people.”

With the Oscars ceremony around the corner, IndieWire decided to take a look at Gladstone’s past work to determine what roles in their relatively short filmography demonstrate her incredible talent. The ranking was based on the strength of Gladstone’s performance, rather than the overall quality of the film in and of itself. With that said, read on for IndieWire’s list of Lily Gladstone’s five best film and TV performances — so far.

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