Punk rock icon, author, and artist Patti Smith made her inaugural public appearance of 2024 at the National Board of Review Gala in New York City on Thursday, January 11. Smith took the stage to deliver a heartfelt speech in honor of Lily Gladstone, the star of “Killers of the Flower Moon.” This marked Smith’s return to the public eye after a series of concerts in late December, following an unexpected hospitalization earlier in the month.
The National Board of Review Gala recognizes outstanding achievements in film from the preceding year, with awards determined by a panel of film critics, filmmakers, academics, and enthusiasts. Smith presented the Best Actress award to Lily Gladstone for her compelling performance in Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of David Grann’s 2017 book, “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.” This accolade adds to Gladstone’s growing list of honors, with the talented actress recently making history as the first indigenous person to receive the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture—Drama. Gladstone, who hails from the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana, has a rich heritage encompassing Nez Perce, Piegan Blackfeet, and white ancestry.
Patti Smith Honors Lily Gladstone in Moving Speech
Smith found herself in a slightly uneasy position in front of the A-list crowd, as reported by People. “There’s a lot of you here,” she acknowledged, humorously adding, “It’s a lot easier playing Madison Square Garden, but I’m very excited to be here.” As she found her rhythm, Smith delved into the topic of “Killers of the Flower Moon” and Lily Gladstone’s outstanding performance.
Describing the film, she expressed, “It pierces the vein of human weakness, greed, cowardice, and betrayal.” Smith then went on to laud Gladstone’s portrayal, highlighting, “What is more piercing than the face of Lily Gladstone as the camera captures the shifting tones of her interior process, seamlessly embodying the courageous Mollie Burkhart?”
Continuing her praise, Smith emphasized Gladstone’s ability to convey the character’s depth, saying, “As Mollie, Lily’s sense of the space around and the rushing energy of her own blood can be felt in every gesture, every side glance, in the lift of her head, in the folding of her hands, in the burgeoning illness that can be felt cell by cell that mirrors the afflictions imposed on her people coupled with her stamina to love, to heal, and quietly condemn.”
In a touching tribute, Smith highlighted Gladstone’s diverse qualities, noting, “Courage, humor, intelligence, her mysterious smile, her earthly sensuality – she drew from the many aspects of herself, investing them within her spiritual sister, the Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, with steely determination, dignity, and grace.”