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Wes Studi Makes Oscars History

Wes Studi Makes Oscars History
March 07
08:51 2018

During his career actor Wes Studi has played real-life heroes (Geronimo) and fictional heroes (Lt. Joe Leaphorn) but the role he played during Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony was truly groundbreaking.

It was the 90th Academy Award ceremony and Studi, a member of the Cherokee tribe, became the first Native American presenter.

A Vietnam veteran, Studi presented a Military Movie Tribute during the Oscars telecast.

“At age 17, I enlisted in the National Guard. A few years later, I volunteered to go to Vietnam. Now, I’m proud to have served there for 12 months with Alpha Company of the 39th Infantry,” Studi said. “As a veteran, I am always appreciative when filmmakers bring to the screen stories of those who have served.”

A 1964 graduate of the Chilocco Indian Boarding School, in Newkirk, Okla., Studi has starred in such movies as “Hostiles” (2017), and the Oscar-winning films “Avatar” (2009), “The Last of the Mohicans” (1992) and “Dances with Wolves” (1990). Additionally, he appeared in the Oscar-nominated films “The New World” (2005) and “Geronimo: An American Legend” (1993).

Other films he’s appeared in are Heat, Mystery Men, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and the television series Penny Dreadful.

Studi has also portrayed Navajo police officer Joe Leaphorn, a character created by author Tony Hillerman.

“My first memory of Wes Studi’s future aspiration as an actor was seing him standing in the spotlight and speaking his part in an assembly or talent show in the Chilocco auditorium,” recalled Page resident Bernice Austin-Begay, who graduated in 1965.

At the Oscars Studi introduced a montage of war film clips from Hollywood history.

“Over 90 years of the Academy Awards, a number of movies with military themes have been honored at the Oscars,” Studi said. “Let’s take a moment to pay tribute to these powerful films that shine a great spotlight on those who have fought for freedom around the world.”
The montage of military themed movies featured clips from;  “A Few Good Men,” “Full Metal Jacket,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “American Sniper,” “Dunkirk,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “From Here to Eternity,” “The Deer Hunter” and “Patton.”

The first Best Picture winner in Oscars history was the World War I epic, “Wings.”

Studi ended his segment by speaking his traditional Cherokee tongue.

According to a tweet from the Cherokee Nation, Studi’s closing remark was: “Hello. Appreciation to all veterans and Cherokees who’ve served. Thank you!”

In the past, Studi was a presenter at the inaugural Native American Music Awards in 1998 and was the host of the 12th Annual Native American Music Awards where he also performed.



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