Fact Check

Was Lily Gladstone Voted 'Most Likely to Win An Oscar' In High School?

Gladstone is the Golden Globes' first Indigenous best actress winner for her role in “Killers of the Flower Moon."

Published Jan 9, 2024

 (Screenshot via Instagram/lilygladstone)
Image Via Screenshot via Instagram/lilygladstone
Claim:
In high school, actor Lily Gladstone was voted “Most Likely to Win An Oscar” by her peers.

On Jan. 7, 2024, actor Lily Gladstone won her first Golden Globe for her role in “Killers of the Flower Moon,” a story about murders of the Osage people over their oil-rich lands in Oklahoma. The win made her the first Indigenous woman to win a best actress Golden Globe.

After the Golden Globes, a rumor surfaced online claiming that Gladstone's high school class had voted her “Most Likely to Win an Oscar” in 2004. (The Golden Globes honor achievements in both film and television, while the Academy Awards focus on films, exclusively, and are generally considered more prestigious because industry peers select winners.) IndigenousTV, an outlet that focuses on Indigenous representation in media, shared a photograph on Instagram of her as a teen, writing:

Did you know? Lily Gladstone won the 'Most Likely To Win An Oscar' superlative in High School? Although, @lilygladstone has yet to win an Oscar, her historic victory at the Golden Globes on Sunday places her as one of the frontrunners ahead of the Oscar nominations, which will be announced on January 23rd, 2024.

The above photo indeed depicts Gladstone as a student of Mountlake Terrace High School (located in Mountlake Terrace, Washington) in 2004 after students named her and another student "Most Likely to Win an Oscar." Gladstone herself has shared it on social media, as well as named the other student, Josh Ryder, and said he was holding a makeshift Oscar. Furthermore, she has spoken publicly about the superlative in several interviews, and many media outlets have reported on it. As such, we rate this claim as True.

In 2017, Gladstone received critical acclaim for her performance in the film "Certain Women" — for which she was nominated numerous awards, though not an Oscar. Gladstone posted the high school photograph on Instagram in January 2017, writing, "Well, MTHS class of 2004 - trying my best, got surprisingly close to a nod, 13 years out the gate. You guys called it! Josh, your turn! #lucky13 #mthshawks #dontgiveup."

In December 2023, Gladstone appeared on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” show, and Kimmel showed the same photograph to the studio audience. She said she was “pretty young” when she got interested in acting, and her parents encouraged her passion. Gladstone's exchange with Kimmel can be heard at the 1:45-minute mark of this video:  

In another interview with Seattle news outlet King5 around the same time, Gladstone talked about the high school superlative:

HOLCOMB: I've read some of your teachers saying, ‘Lily knew exactly who she was at age 15, she knew exactly what she was going to do.’ Did you feel that at the time?'

GLADSTONE: Oddly maybe yes, in some ways no. We had to write out our 10-year plan when we were seniors, and I'd written back then 'Maybe my career will start lifting off, nothing too big, some good indies.' I just had a lot of encouragement. I mean, my graduating class voted me 'Most Likely to Win an Oscar.' (laughs)

After Gladstone's historic win at the Golden Globes, Ryder, the other individual in the photograph, sent her a video message to congratulate her, according to entertainment news site Access Hollywood. She responded: “Josh Ryder is my very good friend from high school who, through all of this, we've gotten a chance to reunite and hang out again. He and I were both voted 'Most Likely to Win an Oscar' by our graduating class. I think maybe 2026 is the year of Josh Ryder.”

Ryder and other former classmates of Gladstone watched "Killers of the Flower Moon" in theaters in October 2023, and documented the experience on Instagram with a photo next to the movie poster. Gladstone responded to the post from her verified account: “I loved this so much and now I can finally say so. Thank you for going, all of you, and thank you for sharing.”

Mountlake Terrace High School congratulated Gladstone on her Golden Globe win, saying in a statement to an Oklahoma-based news outlet: "Students, staff and our entire school community are incredibly proud of Lily and wish her all the best during the upcoming awards season and beyond. She is truly a treasure.”

Sources

“2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominations Announced!” Film Independent, 22 Nov. 2016, https://www.filmindependent.org/blog/film-independent-spirit-awards-nominations-announced/. Accessed 9 Jan. 2024.

Chasan, Aliza. “Killers of the Flower Moon” Star Lily Gladstone Speaks in Blackfeet during Golden Globe Speech - CBS News. 8 Jan. 2024, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/lily-gladstone-blackfeet-golden-globes-killers-of-the-flower-moon/. Accessed 9 Jan. 2024.

“Lily Gladstone Is the Golden Globes’ First Indigenous Best Actress Winner.” AP News, 8 Jan. 2024, https://apnews.com/article/lily-gladstone-golden-globes-win-76ab72d61f7982594d95c67047a4e0c8.  Accessed 9 Jan. 2024.

"Lily Gladstone on Playing Leonardo DiCaprio’s Wife in Killers of the Flower Moon & Oscar Buzz." Jimmy Kimmel Live, www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeIX-AFXf54. Accessed 9 Jan. 2024.

"Lily Gladstone Reacts To Surprise Video Message From High School Friend After Golden Globes Win." Access Hollywood, www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReStNZd0IuU. Accessed 9 Jan. 2024.

“Lily Gladstone Voted Most Likely to Win Oscar in High School.” 2 News Oklahoma KJRH Tulsa, 8 Jan. 2024, https://www.kjrh.com/news/local-news/lily-gladstone-voted-most-likely-to-win-oscar-in-high-school. Accessed 9 Jan. 2024.

“Mountlake Terrace High School Grad Lily Gladstone Getting Oscar Buzz.” King5.Com, 4 Dec. 2023, https://www.king5.com/article/entertainment/television/programs/evening/mountlake-terrace-high-school-graduate-lily-gladstone-getting-oscar-buzz-seattle-actress/281-8f9a391e-9949-4289-8710-25b34d32b033. Accessed 9 Jan. 2024.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.