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Why Marlon Brando Refused The Best Actor Academy Award For ‘The Godfather’?

Marlon Brando, in 1973 refused the Academy Award for best actor for a very specific reason. Find out why on the occasion of 'The Godfathers' birthday. Read on.

Marlon Brando

Hollywood actor Marlon Brando best known for his role in the movie The Godfather celebrates his birthday today. The actor’s amazing performance in the film- The Godfather was not only appreciated by the audiences abut also won him an award at the 45th annual Academy awards. However, rather than sitting in the audience, Marlon Bradon had chosen to boycott the event for one specific reason.

On March 27, 1973, when the actor's name was announced as the winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor, a woman made her way to the dais and respectfully declined the award. Introducing herself, she revealed that her name was Sacheen Littlefeather, who was also an actor as well as the president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee. She stood on the stage and began her speech by saying that she was representing Marlon Brando that evening.

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In her speech, Sacheen Littlefeather said, “(Marlon Brando) has asked me to tell you in a very long speech which I cannot share with you presently, because of time. But I will be glad to share with the press, afterwards. That he would very regretfully cannot accept this very generous awards.” She did not just stop at that and went on to reveal the reason behind Marlon Brando’s absence and why he rejected the award.

Quoting the reason as to why Marlon Brando rejected the prestigious honour, Sacheen stated, “The reasons for this being are the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry.” The crowd started booing her as she looked down and said ‘excuse me’. However, soon a few claps were heard and the crowd erupted in claps. Check out the video of the night of the award show.

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Marlon Brando's Academy Awards

Native Americans in 1973 had no representation visually in the film industry. They were used as extras in the film and above all were not only neglected but also disrespected. When Marlon Brando realised this, his perception of the film industry was shattered. Marlon Brando rejecting the Academy Award remains to be a historic moment in the history of the award function as no other winner since has rejected the award after him.

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