Lily Gladstone’s ‘Most Likely to Win an Oscar’ Classmate Has a Message for Her Now That She’s an Oscar Nominee

Lily Gladstone’s ‘Most Likely to Win an Oscar’ Classmate Has a Message for Her Now That She’s an Oscar Nominee

Lily Gladstone is one step closer to fulfilling “the prophecy” of becoming an Academy Award winner and her high school classmate could not be more excited for her. 

Talking with ET following the nomination for his fellow “most likely to win an Oscar” superlative holder, Josh Ryder says he is happy to see Gladstone, 37, “rightfully” get the recognition she deserves for her role in Killers of the Flower Moon

“I don’t think I had the capacity necessarily to think, or the understanding of what it would take to put oneself in that position to be nominated for an Oscar and Lily has done it,” Ryder tells ET. “And it is extraordinary that she did such high-caliber work, and is getting recognized for it rightfully.”

As for their recent viral moment where the pair is seen in their high school yearbook, posing dramatically with a small statuette to evoke the look of an Oscar win, Ryder — the owner of Betty Restaurant and Bar in Seattle — echoed Gladstone’s thoughts about it bringing everyone back together. 

“One of the nicest things about it, honestly, is the way that it’s kind of reunited my high school class,” Gladstone told ET at the National Board of Review Awards in mid-January. “Everybody’s so excited about this.”

Edmonds School District

Ryder says he has been texting “back and forth” with the actress and that they recently got the chance to see each other while she was in her hometown. 

“She got recognized from the Seattle Film critics group here in Seattle, and they showed her film, Fancy Dance, at the uptown SIFF Theater, which is just a few blocks from my place, I’m a restaurant owner,” Ryder says. “She was able to actually come in and have dinner. And I got to see her mom for like the first time in 20 years, which was so awesome.” 

The trip back to Washington state also reunited her with some of her other high school classmates who all showed up at the SIFF Theater to watch her movie, which helped her to win the Breakthrough Artist Award from the Austin Film Critics Association.

Mountlake Terrace High Hawkeye and TEMPO staff, 2004

The friends — and Gladstone’s hometown community at large — are already in the process of planning how they will support her as she gets ready to appear at the 96th Academy Awards on March 10. Ryder tells ET that they are planning to do a watch party at their high school and cheer her on from afar, which he will lead “100 percent.” 

“We’re also in the process of organizing an Oscar viewing party, hopefully. Gonna be at our old high school, with our old drama teacher. Some other teachers,” he says, adding that they also hope to invite current students to inspire them. “Hopefully, some current students are gonna be able to attend, you know, as well. And we get to share this with the current generation, and just [show] what is possible.”

For Gladstone, the “what is possible” seems to be wide open as she approaches the Oscars — where she is the first Native woman of American descent in the Lead Actress category following her Golden Globen win and other historic accomplishments. 

Ryder says that watching his classmate and friend — whom he described as having a “gravitas” but also being a “goofy theater kid” at heart — win at the Golden Globes was a surreal moment that left him proud and excited for what’s to come. 

“Oh my god, man! Seeing her win the Golden Globe … I was just grinning from ear to ear,” he tells ET. “My face hurt so bad because I was so thrilled for her, and not only for that moment.”

That excitement includes her groundbreaking nomination at the Academy Awards, which he said he is over the moon about, calling it a “storybook ending” that may, in fact, be more of a beginning for her career in Hollywood. 

“It would be a storybook ending, for sure,” he says. “And I mean, you know, maybe not the ending. She’s — we’re not even 40 yet. If she stays in the game, she might be able to rack up, you know, a few [Oscars].”

“We’ll see,” Gladstone told ET on whether or not “the prophecy” will come true. 

Getty Images

The pals’ high school district has likewise been thrilled by the attention, with Director of Communications Harmony Weinberg telling ET, “We are beyond proud of Lily Gladstone and her amazing accomplishments. What an inspiration she is to our students! We here at the Edmonds School District are rooting for her and hope she takes it home!”

Ryder agrees, saying of Gladstone inspiring the next generation, “If you do the work, you know, and stay in the game and be authentic and be a good storyteller — that’s gonna be cool to inspire these young people.”

Alongside Gladstone on Tuesday, Killers of the Flower Moon director Martin Scorsese and actor Robert De Niro were both honored with Academy Award nominations. Gladstone’s on-screen husband in the film, Leonardo DiCaprio, missed out on a nomination in the Lead Actor category. 

Based on David Grann’s best-selling nonfiction book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, the Western crime epic centers on a series of murders in 1920s Oklahoma, after oil is discovered on tribal land in the Osage Nation. The murders became known as the “Reign of Terror,” during which wealthy Osage Nation members were murdered for their oil money by the “white interlopers, who manipulated, extorted, and stole as much Osage money as they could before resorting to murder.”

Gladstone’s performance is one of the most salient to come out of the 2023 film season. Thus far, the actress has received more than two dozen nominations from film festivals and nominating bodies across the world, including the Astra Film Awards and the National Board of Review. 

The 96th Academy Awards will be presented live from the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 10, 2024 at 7 p.m. ET and 4 p.m. PT on ABC. Until then, keep checking for complete Oscars coverage. 



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