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Lily Gladstone says her historic Oscar nomination is ‘beyond anything’ she could’ve hoped for

The "Killers of the Flower Moon" star opens up about what the historic honor means to her.
/ Source: TODAY

Lily Gladstone says she cried tears of joy after hearing that she was nominated for an Oscar.

Shortly after the 96th annual Academy Award nominations were announced Jan. 23, the star called into TODAY with Hoda & Jenna to react to the incredible honor.

“It feels like all of the things. I was so excited," she said.

The “Killers of the Flower Moon" star is the first Native American person nominated in her category (actress in a leading role), and the gravity of that accomplishment isn’t lost on her.

"I didn’t think I was going to cry, but I did. I was on the phone with my folks," she explained.

Gladstone in “Killers of the Flower Moon."
Gladstone in “Killers of the Flower Moon." Apple TV+

The moment was emotional for Gladstone, especially since she didn’t always think she would reach this milestone in her career.

“I’ve been acting for a long time. I’m new to the studio world, (but) I’ve been in theater and indies for a long time. ... I was completely expecting my life would be in small black box theater, would be in independent film, would be in the classroom, teaching students about social justice and history using the art of acting," she said.

Now that she's seeing her dreams come true in real time, Gladstone is definitely experiencing a pinch-me moment.

"It’s a dream that you have when you’re young, and you have aspirations to act. But then when you get in the flow of it, you’re just happy to be able to do this thing. So it’s just, it’s beyond anything I could have hoped for," she said.

A scene from “Killers of the Flower Moon."
A scene from “Killers of the Flower Moon." Apple TV+

The actor is also tickled pink to be in such good company with this year's list of nominees.

"This is such an amazing year: the performances, every film. It’s staggering," she said.

Earlier this month, Gladstone made history at the Golden Globes and became the first Indigenous person to take home the award for best actress in a motion picture drama.

While accepting the award, the actor began her speech in Blackfeet language and explained why afterward.

“I just spoke a bit of Blackfeet language, the beautiful community nation that raised me, that encouraged me to keep going, keep doing this,” she said. “I’m here with my mom, who, even though she’s not Blackfeet, worked tirelessly to get our language into our classroom, so I had a Blackfeet language teacher growing up.”

“I’m so grateful that I can speak even a little bit of my language, which I’m not fluent in, up here. Because in this business, Native actors used to speak their lines in English and then the sound mixers would run them backwards to accomplish Native languages on camera,” she continued.