Robert De Niro led an eventful Killers of the Flower Moon tribute at the Gotham Awards tonight, seeming to struggle with the teleprompter but then circling back after a bit to say that his speech had been edited without his knowledge, thus the confusion. The star of the Martin Scorsese film then went on to blast alternate facts, the state of the nation, and Donald Trump’s “lies” — and the fact that the former president used Pocahontas “as a slur.”
Watch the video above; De Niro goes off-script at the 1:18 mark.
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“The beginning of my speech was edited, cut out. I didn’t know about it. And I want to read it,” he said to the big crowd at Cipriani Wall Street and loud applause. “History isn’t history anymore. Truth is not truth. Even facts are being replaced by alternative facts and driven by conspiracy theories and ugliness. In Florida, young students are taught that slaves develop skills which can be applied for their personal benefit. The entertainment industry isn’t immune to this festering disease. The Duke John Wayne famously said of Native Americans, I don’t feel we did wrong…There were great numbers of people who needed new land and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.”
“Lying has become just another tool in the charlatans’ arsenal. The former president lied to us more than 30,000 times during his four years in office, and he’s keeping up the pace in his current campaign of retribution. But with all his lies, he can’t hide his soul. He attacks the weak, destroys the gifts of nature, and shows disrespect, for example by using Pocahontas as a slur.”
“Filmmakers, on the other hand — this is where I came in and I saw they edited all that.”
That full sentiment was: “Filmmakers, on the other hand, at least aim for the truth. We are telling stories about real people. People we can relate to. We have no other agenda than to engage, enlighten and entertain. And through his films, Marty Scorsese has illuminated the lessons of history with fascinating and absorbing stories. He treats his subjects with an honesty and respect, while he alway has a point of view.”
The film examines the mysterious murders of Osage Nation people after oil is discovered on their land in 1920s Oklahoma. Eric Roth adapted the screenplay from David Grann’s 2017 book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. It premiered at Cannes, Deadline review.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone also star. Most of the key cast were present last night with De Niro to accept the tribute.
It’s an Apple film, distributed by Paramount. De Niro, in his speech, seemed to blame Apple for the editing. “I don’t feel like thanking them at all for what they did. How dare they do that actually…But now I will go to accepting the award for Killers of the Flower Moon.”
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