The British screen icon, who’s up for best actress for her role in the marital drama “45 Years,” said during an interview on Friday morning with French radio station Europe 1 that the campaign to boycott the Feb. 28 ceremony is racist in and of itself.
“It is racist against whites,” she said. “One can never really know, but sometimes maybe black actors did not deserve to make the final list.”
Rampling, an Academy member, also implied that she wouldn’t support the Academy’s introduction of quotas. AMPAS may revamp Oscar categories and overhaul membership requirements as controversy grows over 2016’s list of acting nominees.
“Why classify people? We live now in countries where anyway people are more or less accepted,” the first-time Academy Award nominee said. “There are always problems: ‘He’s less handsome’ or ‘He’s too black’ or ‘He’s too white.’ There will always, always be someone who will say, ‘Oh, you’re too…’ What are we going to do? We’re going to classify all that to create thousands of little minorities everywhere?
When the interviewer said black actors feel like a minority in the film industry, Rampling replied “no comment.”
Rampling is one of 20 white actors nominated for an Oscar, which has prompted outcry about Hollywood’s growing diversity problem. Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee have said they’ll be sitting out the upcoming ceremony, while Lupita Nyong’o, George Clooney, David Oyelowo, Will Packer and others have criticized the show, which spawned the trending hashtag “Oscars So White.”
Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement on Monday that the Academy “is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership” to address the issue, while former prexy Hawk Koch called on Hollywood to push diversity in an open letter released Thursday.