Wes Studi to become the first Native American to win an Oscar

In 1973, Marlon Brando famously declined an Oscar for The Godfather over Hollywood’s treatment of Native Americans.

Finally, after nearly 50 years, the Academy Awards have awarded a Native American actor an Oscar.

Wes Studi, who appeared in the Oscar best picture winner Dances with Wolves, has been given an honorary award for career achievement.

The 71-year-old has also appeared in James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar, starred alongside Al Pacino in Heat, and portrayed the character Sagat in Street Fighter.

Canadian native musician Buffy Sainte-Marie previously shared an Oscar for best original song for “Up Where We Belong” from the film An Officer and a Gentleman.

Studi’s win has been seen as a step forward for the Academy Awards jurors, who have come under criticism for the lack of diversity among nominees.

Last year, over 900 artists and industry members – almost a half of which were women, and a third from minority groups – joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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