Charlotte Rampling is the latest star to weigh in on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, and it looks like she’s siding with Clueless star Stacey Dash against Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Lupita Nyong’o, George Clooney, Idris Elba, Spike Lee, and others who have expressed their disappointment in the lack of diversity in Oscar nominees.
In Charlotte Rampling’s mind, the white actors and actresses who will be honored at the lavish Academy Awards ceremony have become the real victims in this diversity row. According to the New York Times, the British actress thinks Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith are being racist by daring to speak out about the lack of recognition for non-white stars at this year’s Academy Awards. During a recent Radio 1 interview (which was conducted in French), Charlotte Rampling was asked to weigh in on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and the calls to boycott the ceremony.
“[It is] racist to whites,” Rampling said. “We can never know if it’s really the case. Sometimes maybe black actors did not deserve to make the final stretch.”
Charlotte Rampling is nominated in the Best Actress category for her role in the movie 45 years, so, unlike many snubbed black stars, she doesn’t have to sit around wondering whether her race played a part in her exclusion or whether her performance just wasn’t up to par. Rampling also revealed that she’s against the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) taking steps to make its voting body a little more diverse.
“Why classify people? These days we live in countries now where everyone is more or less accepted,” Rampling said.
“People will always say: ‘Him, he’s less handsome;’ ‘Him, he’s too black;’ ‘He is too white.’ Someone will be saying ‘You are too’ [this or that]. But are we going to classify this so there should be thousands of minorities everywhere?”
However, as the Guardian reports, AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs disagrees with Charlotte Rampling – she is siding with Jada Pinkett Smith by saying that the lack of diversity among nominees has left her “heartbroken and frustrated.” Boone Isaacs also released a statement vowing to do her part to ensure that the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag won’t be one of the top Twitter trends the next time the Academy Award nominees are announced.
“This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes,” Boone Isaacs wrote.
“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.”
According to the New York Times, Charlotte Rampling refused to further comment on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy when she was asked to share her opinion about the minority actors and actresses who feel like they are deserving of recognition but simply aren’t getting any. Below is the question that she didn’t want to answer.
“The fact that they still feel like a minority, that doesn’t speak to you? They feel like a minority. They say, ‘We’re black actors and we still don’t really exist.'”
Twitter is already having a field day with Charlotte Rampling’s comments.
Congratulations to Charlotte Rampling on her nomination for “45 Years Since That Attitude Was OK”
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) January 22, 2016
How Charlotte Rampling’s day is heading pic.twitter.com/8SqLLwqNhn
— Jason (metalmeatwad) (@MichaelNotCera) January 22, 2016
A reminder of Charlotte Rampling’s bad decision-making: She was in Basic Instinct 2. pic.twitter.com/EdIbSAPaFQ
— Tim Stack (@EWTimStack) January 22, 2016
Basic Instinct 2 actually might not be Charlotte Rampling’s most questionable career choice. Many would likely argue that this honor goes to the 1974 movie The Night Porter. In the “Naziploitation” film, Rampling plays a concentration camp inmate who engages in a sadomasochistic relationship with an SS officer. As the Decider points out, the movie is extremely controversial.
So far, the number of stars who share Charlotte Rampling’s views on the Oscars is rather small. According to ET Online, Fox News contributor Stacey Dash said that Jada Pinkett Smith’s Oscars boycott was “ludicrous,” and Dash took her outrage to the extreme by calling for the BET Awards to go the way of her acting career. As the Los Angeles Times points out, Stacey Dash erroneously complained that the BET Awards only honors black celebrities. Sam Smith, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg received BET Awards, and numerous other white stars have received nominations.
Meanwhile, the number of celebrities who agree with Jada Pinkett Smith’s diagnosis of the Academy’s diversity problem continues to grow. On her Facebook page, Reese Witherspoon called for a more diverse AMPAS voting membership, and she shared a photo of the cast of the snubbed Straight Outta Compton movie.
“So disappointed that some of 2015’s best films, filmmakers and performances were not recognized,” Witherspoon wrote.
In addition to Reese Witherspoon and the celebrities listed at the beginning of this article, the Guardian reports that Mark Ruffalo, Brie Larson, and Viola Davis have joined the fight to make the Oscars less white. With so many big-name celebs joining the movement, Charlotte Rampling can only hope that her words don’t cost her too many Academy votes.
[Photo by Clemens Bilan/Getty Images]