Who Is ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Star Lily Gladstone? Get the Details

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We've spotted Lily Gladstone's name in quite a few headlines lately, and it's all thanks to her stunning portrayal of Mollie Burkhart in Killers of the Flower Moon.

Her performance has already earned her a Golden Globe, and now, the 37-year-old star is nominated for a 2024 Oscar Award in the Best Actress category. (FYI, Killers of the Flower Moon received the third most film nominations, with a total of ten.) While speaking with the British Film Institute about the historical epic, which depicts the Osage Nation murders, she said, "It was such a labor of love for everyone. And when I was watching it, it really, truly felt like one of the most epic films I’ve ever seen."

Gladstone continued, "I think it achieved what I was hoping it would, in that it felt like one of the great films of the '30s, '40s, '50s. Back then, native peoples were relegated to being the bloodthirsty savage—and now we have Mollie. People just fell in love with Mollie Burkhart. And that had the impact that we were hoping for."

Although the actress is receiving critical acclaim for Killers of the Flower Moon, it's worth noting that Gladstone has been making strides since 2012 and has several accolades under her belt. Keep reading for all the details on Lily Gladstone.

1. Lily Gladstone Was Raised on the Blackfeet Reservation

Eric Charbonneau/Getty Images

Gladstone—who is of Piegan Blackfeet, Nez Perce and European descent—lived with her family on the Blackfeet Nation reservation in Browning, Montana, until she was 11 years old.

In a 2014 interview about her film, Jimmy P.—part of which was filmed in Browning—Gladstone opened up about her beloved hometown. She said, “The reputation of Browning depends on who it is you talk to. There are some incredibly ugly things that happen but shouldn’t. But you have to look deeper into why things are the way they are. At the foundation of my life, there is community and family. There is poverty, violence, substance abuse and unemployment everywhere. But there is so much love in that community.”

2. She Studied Drama at the University of Montana

After attending Mountlake Terrace High School, Gladstone attended the University of Montana and took a special interest in Theatre of the Oppressed—a form of interactive theatre developed by Brazilian playwright Augusto Boal.

The actress opened up to Variety about her post-grad days and how she incorporated Boal's techniques while teaching acting camps and workshops to Native students. She said, “We would talk about the issues that affected us in our daily lives, and pull out keywords: colonization, assimilation, family, home.” Then, Gladstone would invite her class to meditate on a given word and strike a pose to create a “sculpture garden.”

3. Lily Gladstone's First Breakout Role Came in 2016

Although she made her film debut in Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian in 2013, Gladstone had her career breakthrough in 2016, when she starred alongside Kristen Stewart in Certain Women. Her performance was met with high praise from critics, and she earned quite a few accolades, including the Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress.

While speaking with The Guardian about working with Stewart, she said, “Kristen has an incredibly sharp, artistic mind, catches every micro-expression, understands how to drive a scene, gave me everything I needed. And we bonded over our admiration of Kelly [Reichardt].”

Her other acting credits include The Last Manhunt, Fancy Dance and Reservation Dogs.

4.  Killers of the Flower Moon Brought Gladstone Even More Fame

Paramount Pictures

Fans and critics would agree that Gladstone stole the show in Killers of the Flower Moon, directed by Martin Scorsese. Even her co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio, told Entertainment Tonight, “I felt her at moments living as Mollie. She embodied that character; she took on the soul of this woman and embraced herself into the Osage community.”

While speaking to the British Film Institute about people's responses to the film, Gladstone said, "It’s mattered most to me what Osage people, especially the descendants of the victims and the survivors of the Reign of Terror, felt about the film. The response has been really overwhelmingly positive from everything that I’ve seen. We had an Osage premiere, exclusively for the Nation, before the strike, which was such a blessing. It was the last time that all of us were able to get together until the strike lifted."

In 2021, when casting was first announced, Gladstone wrote on Instagram, "I consider it a true gift and great responsibility to be trusted with Mollie Burkhart, and will hold her preciously with both arms, close to my heart. My most profound thanks to Osage Nation, it is a remarkable gift to be welcomed by you, and to be able to tell this story."

5. She Could Make History at the 2024 Oscars

She already won a Golden Globe, so it’s no surprise that she’s nominated for a 2024 Oscar Award for Best Actress. If Gladstone takes home an Academy Award, she will make history as the first Native American to win a competitive Oscar. NBD.

6. She Considered Leaving Acting to Pursue a Different Career

As it turns out, Gladstone considered switching careers right before Scorsese reached out about Killers of the Flower Moon. Her job of choice? Tracking murder hornets for the Department of Agriculture. (Yep, you read that right.)

Having gone through a dry spell with acting gigs, she told The Hollywood Reporter, “You just wonder if it’s going to be sustainable. So, I had my credit card out, registering for a data analytics course.”

While promoting Killers of the Flower Moon, the actress also told British Vogue, "I had, like, almost a parental love of bees at that time... [I got] a fire in my belly to go after these invasive killers that were attacking the indigenous species."

Fortunately, before she made the switch, she received an email from Scorsese, who was so impressed by her performance in Certain Women that he felt compelled to reach out. The rest, as they say, is history.

7. Gladstone Auditioned for Yellowstone Multiple Times

Paramount Network

While speaking with Vulture, the actress revealed that she auditioned for the Paramount Network series, although she considers the drama's depiction of the American West to be “delusional" and "deplorable.”

She told the outlet, “No offense to the Native talent in that. I auditioned several times. That’s what we had.”

8. She's a Proud Dog Mom

If you've been keeping up with Gladstone's Instagram, then chances are you've spotted her adorable pup, Birdy, on a few occasions. In 2018, she shared a snap of her dog in honor of International Puppy Day and wrote, "Missing my goofball. Don’t tell this sweet derpy face I spent #internationalpuppyday with two kittens."

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