UPDATED, 4:44 PM: After causing a stir with comments on French radio about the Oscar diversity issue, Academy Award nominee Charlotte Rampling told CBS, “I regret that my comments could have been misinterpreted.” In a statement to CBS’ Sunday Morning, the 45 Years star tried to clarify what she really meant:
“I regret that my comments could have been misinterpreted this week in my interview with Europe 1 Radio. I simply meant to say that in an ideal world every performance will be given equal opportunities for consideration. I am very honored to be included in this year’s wonderful group of nominated actors and actresses. Diversity in our industry is an important issue that needs to be addressed. I am highly encouraged by the changes announced today by the Academy to diversify its membership.”
PREVIOUSLY, 11:32 AM: Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling has plunged headlong into the Oscars’ race controversy, telling French radio this week that “perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the final list” and that the uproar over the lack of black nominees “is racist to whites.”
Nominated for her role in 45 Years, Rampling on Europe 1 dismissed the notion that racial quotas might be necessary to level the Oscar playing field. “Why classify people?,” she said, as reported in The Guardian. “These days everyone is more or less accepted.” Rampling, who won a top acting prize for 45 Years at Berlin in 2015, continued:, “People will always say: ‘Him, he’s less handsome’; ‘Him, he’s too black’; ‘He is too white.’
“But do we have to take from this that there should be lots of minorities everywhere?” she asked. When the 69-year-old actress was told by the interviewer that black actors feel like a minority in Hollywood, she replied “No comment.”
The racial controversy kicked into high gear recently when Jada Pinkett Smith and, just yesterday, her husband Will Smith said they will not attend the February 28 Oscar ceremony. Spike Lee also is staying away, and Mark Ruffalo was “weighing” whether to attend before deciding he would. On Wednesday, invited presenter Quincy Jones told the NATPE convention in Miami that unless he was given time to address the issue, he would pull out, adding “Boycott or fix it.” And Michael Caine, speaking to BBC Radio 4, advised black actors, “Be patient. Of course it will come. It took me years to get an Oscar.”
Rampling’s comments ignited a Twitter storm. Here’s a sampling:
Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.