Surely there are some folks here old enough to remember this as it went down…
…or at the very least, you heard about it from Joe Blow at the water cooler at work Monday morning.
At the time, what was your reaction? Did it make you want to cheer or jeer? Would such a protest still be relevant/effective nowadays? (Not necessarily American Natives, although I do wonder this too).
Also, as the camera caught sight of Sacheen Littlefeather walking through the crowd, did you think something was “up”—did you see the Oscar refusal coming? Remember, George C. Scott turned down his Academy Award for “Patton” just a couple years earlier. So the idea that Brando might turn down the accolade surely would have pinged in the minds of some viewers.
My final two questions:
When someone refuses an Oscar, why do they then not give it to the next person on the voting tally?
If the Oscar had went to Paul Winfield for “Sounder” (1972), would this have made a bigger/more positive impact on civil rights/ethnic relations? I’m not saying that Oscars should be given out in the name of tokenism—but let’s say the Academy genuinely favoured Winfield and gave him the award over Brando—would it have made a bigger and/or longer-lasting and/or more immediate impact (Paul Winfield, an Afro-American) than Sacheen’s refusal of Brando’s statuette? (I’m not losing sight of the fact that Sidney Poitier had won it nine years earlier for “Lilies in the Field”).
On a lighter note, notice Roger Moore right at the end of the clip, he looks so lost and forlorn, like he doesn’t know what to do with the strange little golden man in his grasp.
Good questions, but before I ponder them and leave a longer response, I first want ot say the winner should have been Peter O’ Toole in the Ruling Class.
I would have given it to Pacino for The Godfather as his character arch was the core of the film, which would have been less effective had Pacino not captured Michael’s conflicted nature so well.
As to the incident in question. Hollywood types have long been hamfisted at best when trying to make political statements, particularly at the Oscars. This falls into that tradition. Artists capable of coherent political expression let it be known through their art, not cheap publicity stunts.
I don’t believe one can accuse Marlon Brando of a cheap publicity stunt. He was already by this time considered one of the greatest film actors and had won an Oscar for “On The Waterfront”. I know a lot of actors, actresses, etc exploit sensitive causes to draw attention to themselves (Cate Blandshit, I’m looking at you). Marlon wasn’t this type of performer. If anything, he stood to lose face over the incident, but he stuck his neck out. Perhaps he could have been there in person to refuse the Oscar, but maybe he thought it would be drawing attention to himself and not the cause.
What separates Marlon from others who trumpet causes is that he’s studied his subject, plus his authenticity and lack of ego is clear to be seen. I know he’s a great actor, but not even Marlon could have faked this.
I should have been more specific. I don’t think Brando was attempting self-publicity. He was trying to publicize his cause, BUT he tried to do so through a cheap publicity stunt.
Regardless of whether you think it was cheap or not, would you not agree it was effective?
Not that I could could tell. Arthur Penn (Little Big Man), Clint Eastwood (The Outlaw Jose Wales) and Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves) seems to have done more to promote positive images of Native Americans. I don’t see how Brando can claim credit for any of that.
It’s interesting that Clint seemed dismissive of Marlon’s protest when I would figure Clint himself to be sympathetic to Marlon’s cause. Both men seem very wise and compassionate.
The bit in “The Eiger Sanction” where the Native American lady George (Brenda Venus) puts Clint through his paces to train him for the mountain climb, leading to Clint’s line “Screw Marlon Brando” was a direct shot at Brando and his Oscar refusal/protest.
This is not to say Clint is unsympathetic towards the plight of American Natives, but obviously he disagreed with either how the message was framed or its timing, which I think is maybe the problem a lot of others had.
Quite true re Clint, mark.
He doens’t liek to waste time and money. “Paint Your Wagon” wnet way over budget largely because everyone had to wait around for Lee Marvin to sober up from the night before. Clint vowed this would neevr happen were he in charge of things.
I thoguht the whole Oscar incident was silly ad didn’t serve to make the point Brando wanted. it just came off as brnado doing soemthign weird.
As for the Oscar it wouldn’t be for him to decide who should get it once he refused. It’s entirely up to the Academy. It’s not the winner’s award to “re-gift.”
it just came off as Brando doing something weird.
^ Brando’s career from the mid-1970s on.
I realise that about “re-gifting”, David E.
What I meant was, doesn’t the Academy re-gift it? Or shouldn’t they?
Personally, I think Roger Moore should have made of with it.
You’ll have to ask the Academy about that. Maybe there are rules.
Brando being Brando.
Brando’s behavior and the way he treated people make it difficult to take anything he said seriously.