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Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling is adding her views to the growing controversy about the Oscar nominations, claiming that the campaign to boycott the February 28 ceremony is, in fact, racist to white people.
The actress, 69, is one of the 20 acting Oscar nominees this year for her turn in 45 Years, and like the other 19 nominees, she is white. During an interview with French radio network Europe 1 she was asked about the current outcry over that fact, and the lack of diversity in the nominations and Hollywood in general. The Guardian translated her responses.
"It is racist to whites," she said. "One can never really know, but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the final list," she added. The interviewer then asked if the Academy should introduce quotas, to which she responded: "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?"
The controversy surrounding the nominations has only grown since they were announced. Fans, stars and the media have weighed in, calling on the Academy, and the film industry in general, to work on diversity. Director Spike Lee, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith have both said publicly that they will not attend the ceremony. Oscar winners George Clooney, Lupita Nyong'o and Reese Witherspoon have spoken out, offering support to the boycott and calling for more diversity. Rampling's fellow nominee this year Mark Ruffalo has also expressed support for the boycott, although he made it clear that he would be attending the ceremony.
Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, an African-American woman, responded to the controversy over the nominations on Monday night.
"I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion (in the nominations)," she said. "This is a difficult but important conversation, and it's time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond."