While Montana has made its mark on Hollywood history, especially with iconic locations, there's probably never been this kind of excitement about a Montana star reaching the pinnacle of motion pictures.

Welcome to "Lily's Weekend".

Already honored with history-making awards at the Golden Globes, and the Screen Actors Guild for her performance in "Killers of the Flower Moon", Lily Gladstone could complete the sweep by winning the Best Actress Award from the Motion Picture Academy. Local film buffs, and Gladstone's relatives and tribal followers are convinced it will happen.

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Is the "Best Actress" category tight in '24?

I put that question to Mike Smith, an Assistant Program Director at Missoula's Roxy Theater, where Lily worked while living in Missoula and attending the University of Montana about 10-years ago. He says while the other Oscar races are pretty clear cut, "Best Actress" is a tight race, especially with competition like Emma Stone and Anne Benning. But he's confident of Gladstone's chances, based on performance alone, and doesn't agree with speculation there could be a tie.

"I think Lily Gladstone is still kind of the favorite to win," Smith told me during an interview on "Daybreak with Dennis". "I think you know her being the first Native American woman to be nominated for the award is a big win in her factor. I also think even divorced from, you know, our own communities, personal experiences, I do think she gives the best performance out those five. I think she's really great."

Getty Images; Frazer Harrison
Getty Images; Frazer Harrison

READ MORE: Lily Gladstone's Montana Origins

Celebrations, win or lose

The Roxy is spotlighting all of Gladstone's work, with the tongue-in-cheek "Employee of the Month" presentations this month. Thursday brought a sold-out showing of "Killers of the Flower Moon" with more to come after Sunday.

"We're also showing "Certain Women" next week, which was her breakout film from 2016," Smith explains. "And then the week after that we're showing "The Unknown Country, which was a movie that we played with Montana Film Festival about two years ago. She came out for that one. I got to meet her. And she was terrific. She's just so fun and down to Earth. We played trivia together. I did a Q and A together and all that stuff. She was great."

The Roxy is screening the Oscars on Sunday night, but that's been sold out for weeks. And Smith there's a "palpable excitement" at the Roxy, with some employees still there working with Gladstone.

MORE: Missoula Library Oscar Watch Party

Meanwhile, the Blackfeet community is going all out with a "Lily Gladstone Day" on March 26th at the All Event Center in Browning. Lily is set to appear for that, with a ceremony that will include an honor song, singing, and other tribal performances.

Getty Images; Arturo Holmes
Getty Images; Arturo Holmes

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Gallery Credit: Jesse James

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