Oscars diversity row is 'anti-white racism,' says Charlotte Rampling

Story highlights

  • Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling calls boycott "anti-white racism"
  • Oscars race row broke out because all 20 Academy Awards acting nominees are white
  • Spike Lee, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and others plan to not attend event

(CNN)Charlotte Rampling is the latest actor to weigh in on the race row that has erupted over this year's Academy Awards.

Rampling, 69, who is nominated for the Best Actress Award for her role in "45 Years," called the decision by some actors to boycott the Oscars "anti-white racism."
    "Maybe this time, no black actor or actress deserved to make it to the final selection," she said during an interview on French radio station Europe 1.
    "Why should we always categorize people? I think nowadays we are living in easily offended societies. There will always be someone who's too beautiful, too black or not white enough," she said, when asked if Hollywood should enforce quotas for minorities.
    But in a later interview with CBS News' "Sunday Morning," Rampling sought to clarify her remarks.
    "I regret that my comments could have been misinterpreted ... 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."
    Rampling's comments come after Hollywood stars Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, and directors Spike Lee and Michael Moore announced they will boycott next month's Oscars ceremony over lack of diversity among nominees.
    There are also calls for African-American comedian Chris Rock, who is hosting this year, to step down.

    #OscarsSoWhite

    The controversy broke out after last week's Oscar nominations -- the second year in a row in which all 20 acting nominees are white.
    Fans and movie buffs tweeted their dismay under the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, which emerged last year after Academy nominations largely ignored critically acclaimed civil rights drama "Selma."
    "It's actually worse than last year," said #OscarsSoWhite hashtag creator April Reign.
    Writer Morgan Leigh Davies tweeted: "The thing about #OscarsSoWhite this year is that they really had options. CREED, STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, BEASTS OF NO NATION. But: nada."
    She was referring to black Oscars hopefuls including "Beasts of No Nation's" Idris Elba, "Creed" star Michael B. Jordan and movie writer Ryan Coogler and the cast of N.W.A biopic "Straight Outta Compton" who were overlooked by academy voters.

    African-American actors boycott

    Hollywood's African-American elite swiftly got involved.
    Director Spike Lee, a long-time critic of the academy, and actress Jada Pinkett Smith both said that they will not attend this year's ceremony in protest.
    "We cannot support it and (I) mean no disrespect ... but, how is it possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the acting category are white? And let's not even get into the other branches," Lee, the outspoken director of such racially charged films as "Do the Right Thing" and "Malcolm X" wrote on Instagram. "Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can't act?! WTF!!"
    In a video posted to Facebook, Pinkett Smith said she would not even watch the Oscars on TV this year. Her husband, Will Smith, had been considered an Oscar contender for his role in "Concussion," but was not nominated.
    Oscar winners Lupita Nyong'o, George Clooney, Reese Witherspoon and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs have also voiced their disappointment.

    'Spoiled brats' crying 'racism'

    But there are many in Hollywood who don't agree.
    Producer Gerald Molen, a voting member of the Academy, who won a Best Picture Oscar for "Schindler's List" called those boycotting "spoiled brats" who are crying "racism."
    "There is no racism except for those who create an issue. That is the worst kind. Using such an ugly way of complaining," Molen told The Hollywood reporter Thursday.
    Acting legend Michael Caine has also come out against the boycott.
    In an interview on BBC Radio 4, he was asked about "the argument going on in Hollywood at the moment, that not enough black actors -- in fact, none -- have been nominated for this year's Oscars."
    "You can't vote for an actor because he's black -- you can't just say, 'Oh I'm going to vote for him, he's not very good, but he's black.' You've got to give a good performance," he said.
    "Be patient," was Caine's message to non-white actors, "Of course it will come. It took me years to get an Oscar."