Charlotte Rampling, Michael Caine Push Back Against the Oscars Backlash

The Best Actress nominee said the backlash was “racist to white people.”

It looks like we can take Charlotte Rampling off the shortlist of actors who might jump on the Oscar boycott bandwagon: The Best Actress nominee said in an interview with a French radio network on Friday that the backlash against the all-white Oscar nominee pool was “racist against whites.”

Rampling, who is nominated for her performance in Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years (and, at least until today, was a frontrunner alongside Brie Larson), indicated she did not see any value in giving more recognition to ethnic minorities, even suggesting that the overlooked black contenders — which included  Will Smith and Michael B. Jordan — were not deserving of the honor.

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“One can never really know, but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the final list.”

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 radio host pointed out that minorities have felt systemically marginalized in Hollywood, Rampling replied, “No comment.”

Oscar ceremony veteran Michael Caine, who did not receive a nomination for his critically acclaimed role in Youth, suggested that black performers “be patient” about getting wider recognition, citing his own personal experience of waiting “years” for his first Oscar. (Caine was nominated for his first Oscar for Alfie in 1966, when he was in his early thirties.)

There’s loads of black actors. In the end you can’t vote for an actor because he’s black. You can’t say ‘I’m going to vote for him, he’s not very good, but he’s black, I’ll vote for him’.”

Caine will not be attending the Oscars this year, but not for he same reason Spike Lee, Will and Jada Smith, and possibly Mark Ruffalo will skip it. “The best thing about it is you don’t have to go. Especially the Oscars, 24 hours on an aeroplane and I’ve got to sit there clapping Leonardo DiCaprio,” he said. “I love Leonardo, he played my son in a movie, but I’m too old to travel that far and sit in an audience and clap someone else.”

The 88th Academy Awards ceremony will air on Sunday, February 28th on ABC.