Last week's Oscar nominations were more controversial than ever this year, since, for the second year in a row, no African-American actor or actress was nominated. This lead to stars such as Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and filmmaker Spike Lee to boycott the awards ceremony, with Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo revealing this week that he's mulling the possibility of shunning the ceremony as well. Another Oscar nominee, 45 Years star Charlotte Rampling, had a much different take on this hot-button topic, revealing in an interview with French radio network Europe 1 that the controversy is actually racist to white people.
"It is racist to whites. You never know if it was really the case. But perhaps the black players do not deserve to be in the final stretch. Why classify people? These days everyone is more or less accepted ... People will always say: 'Him, he's less handsome'; 'Him, he's too black'; 'He is too white' ... someone will always be saying 'You are too' [this or that] ... But do we have to take from this that there should be lots of minorities everywhere?"
When the interviewer explained to the actress that the black community in the film industry feels like a minority, she simply replied "No comment." Her stance is quite different from many other prominent Hollywood figures, with other stars such as George Clooney, Viola Davis, Reese Witherspoon and Whoopi Goldberg calling for The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to make some serious changes. While promoting his new film Youth, Michael Caine also chimed in on the controversy, stating that you can't vote for an actor simply because he or she is black.
There are loads of black actors. I think in the end you can't vote for an actor (just) because he's black. You can't say: I'm going to vote for him, he's not very good but he's black, (so) I'll vote for him. You've got to give a good performance."
The actor also added that he thought Idris Elba's performance in Netflix's Beasts of No Nation was "wonderful," before the interviewer informed him that he was not nominated this year. He added that black actors should "be patient" and that it took him several years to get his Oscar. The actor has been nominated six times, winning twice for performances in Hannah and Her Sisters and The Cider House Rules.
These statements from Charlotte Rampling and Michael Caine come just days after Academy president Cheryl Boone-Isaacs issued a statement about the lack of diversity in this year's nominations. Other African-American stars such as Tyrese Gibson and 50 Cent are asking for Oscar host Chris Rock to step down and join the boycott. What do you think about the Oscar controversy? Chime in with your thoughts, and stay tuned for more updates.