Leonardo DiCaprio introduced Lily Gladstone at Variety Power of Women Presented by Lifetime, reflecting on their time shared as co-stars while filming “Killers of the Flower Moon,” and praising Gladstone’s acting abilities.
DiCaprio cited several of Gladstone’s critically acclaimed performances in films such as “Fancy Dance” and “Certain Women,” but then revealed that she was “on the verge of quitting acting altogether” when they first met.
“That an actor of such profound talent has found it a long and hard road to get this recognition speaks to the unfairness that still exists in our industry today,” DiCaprio said in his speech. “I fervently hope that we’re entering a new era in which actors like Lily, who embody this authenticity and undeniable truth in their own storytelling, take center stage. Because Lily’s not just an actor, she’s also an activist.”
In addition to discussing his personal relationship with Gladstone, DiCaprio acknowledged the actress’ dedication toward uplifting her community. Gladstone was being honored for her advocacy for Indigenous women’s rights, working closely with the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. The grassroots organization addresses the disproportionately high rates of violence against Native women. Gladstone’s advocacy efforts with the NIWRC includes projects such as teaching sculpture garden workshops as a means of violence prevention.
“Their work provides the resources necessary for grassroots cultural organizations to tackle these issues,” Gladstone said of the NIWRC. The nonprofit does so through, for example, a database to help families and advocates find legislation related to missing and murdered Indigenous women by state. “It is very much designed for Native communities in a culturally-sensitive way that centers women, who are the backbone of sovereignty,” she said.
DiCaprio and Gladstone share the screen in Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.” The film chronicles murders on Osage Nation land in the 1920s.
DiCaprio concluded his speech by calling Gladstone a “wise, kind and humble soul. A tremendous talent, an incredibly important voice of change.”