“‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ is a powerful and important film not only for its cinematic poetry, but also as a complicated story about the suspicious murders of members of the Osage Nation, one which fully illustrates the evils of racism and corruption,” said Festival Chairman Nachhattar Singh Chandi. “Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film features a powerhouse ensemble performance by Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons and Tantoo Cardinal, making it the must-see film of the year. It is our honor to present the Vanguard Award to ‘Killers of the Flower Moon.'”
Past recipients of the Vanguard Award include Best Picture Oscar winners “Green Book” and “The Shape of Water” as well as Best Picture Oscar nominees “Belfast,” “La La Land,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “The Fabelmans” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Based on the bestselling book of the same name by David Grann, “Killers of the Flower Moon” stars DiCaprio as Ernest Burkhart, a man who falls for an indigenous woman, Mollie Kyle (Gladstone), while aiding his uncle William Hale (Robert De Niro) in murdering members of the Osage Nation to obtain their fortune fueled by oil-rich land.
In his four-star review of the film, RogerEbert.com Managing Editor Brian Tallerico wrote, “Scorsese and co-writer Eric Roth took a book that’s essentially about the formation of the F.B.I. by way of the investigation into the Osage murders and shifted the storytelling to a more personal perspective for both Mollie and Ernest. Through their story, the film doesn’t just present injustice but reveals how intrinsic it was to the formation of wealth and inequity in this country. It hums with commentary on how this nonchalant violence against people deemed lesser pervaded a century of horror. The references to the Tulsa Massacre and the KKK aren’t incidental. It’s all part of the big picture—one of people who subjugate because it’s so easy for them to do so.”
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