Wes Studi, the celebrated American Indian actor and Vietnam War veteran best known for his powerful work in Dancing with Wolves and Last of the Mohicans, will receive an honorary Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences October 27 at the Academy’s 11th annual Governors Awards. He will be the first Native American actor to receive an honorary Oscar.
The Oscar will go to Studi and to the directors David Lynch and Lina Wertmuller, along with the actress Geena Davis, who also will receive the Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
Studi—who received the Vietnam Veterans of America Excellence in the Arts Award at the 2017 National Convention in New Orleans—joined the Army National Guard when he was seventeen, then volunteered to go in Vietnam. He saw service in the Cholon section of Saigon, in the bush, and with Navy riverine operations with Alpha Co. of the 3rd Battalion in the 39th Infantry Regiment. You can read about Wes Studi’s Vietnam War and post-war experiences in a profile of him that appeared in the March/April 2015 issue of The VVA Veteran.
“Studi is a Cherokee-American actor who has appeared in more than 30 films,” the Academy said in announcing the award, “becoming known for portraying strong Native American characters with poignancy and authenticity.”