PARIS — Invited on French radio Europe 1, British actress and Oscar-nominee Charlotte Rampling has weighed in on the controversy over the lack of diversity this year among Academy Award nominees, saying that filmmaker Spike Lee's call to boycott the ceremony was "racist against whites."
The 69-year-old English-born actress, famous for her movies in three languages (English, French and Italian) and nominated for Best Actress at the 88th Academy Awards for her role in Andrew Haigh's drama 45 Years, suggested that "maybe the black actors didn't deserve to make it to the last leg."
Speaking in French, she responded to a question about quotas: "Why classify people? Today we're living in a world where everyone is more or less accepted, but there'll always be problems like "this one is less handsome, that one's too black, that one's too white" ... So we'll always classify people in thousands of little minorities everywhere."
Challenged by the interviewer that African-Americans feel that they are still an under-represented minority, Rampling switched to English: "No comment."
For the second year in a row, the 20 nominees in the top four acting categories are white. This lack of diversity has led high-profile Hollywood figures like Jada Pinkett-Smith and husband Will Smith to announce they were boycotting the Feb. 28 ceremony. Others like actors David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o, George Clooney, and Idris Elba have publicly criticized the lack of nominees of color.