BY DEOYE FALADE
The journey to the 2016 Oscars keeps getting interesting with accusations and counters on alleged racism due to an all-white nominee ensemble this time around. Everyone seems to be weighing in and this time around its Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling turning the tables around by suggesting that the current campaign (hi there couple Smith) to shun the 2016 Academy Awards over claims of racism and lack of diversity is racist to white people.
Rampling, 69, is up for the best actress prize for her role in the British drama 45 Years. She is up against Room’s Brie Larson, Carol’s Cate Blanchett, Joy’s Jennifer Lawrence and Brooklyn’s Saoirse Ronan.
In reply to a question asked about her take on the raging controversy over an all-white list of nominees on French Radio network Europe 1, Charlotte quipped, “It is racist to whites.”
“One can never really know, but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the final list,” Rampling added. When asked if the Academy should introduce quotas, 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?“
This is in stark contrast to the position taken by a number of her fellow nominees. After last week’s announcement of an all-white list of Oscar nominees in acting categories for the second year running, both Larson and Mark Ruffalo, who is up for best supporting actor, spoke out on Thursday in support of efforts to improve opportunities for actors from black and ethnic minority communities in the film industry.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has vowed to address the issue, while Jada Pinkett Smith, her husband Will Smith and the Oscar-winning director Spike Lee have all said they will not be attending next month’s ceremony in protest at the recurrence of an all-white list of acting nominees.
Meanwhile, two-time Oscar nominee Viola Davis has also added her voice to the on-going diversity controversy.
“It’s not the Oscars,” she said, “the Oscars are a symptom of a much greater issue and that’s the issue of the Hollywood movie-making system… The opportunity does not match the talent. There needs to be more opportunity. You have to invest in it.“