Oscars contender Charlotte Rampling says the campaign decrying the lack of diversity among this year’s Oscar nominees is “racist to whites.”
“One can never really know, but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the final list,” the English actress said in an interview with Europe 1.
Rampling is nominated for Best Actress for her role in “45 Years.”
“Why classify people?” she said. “These days everyone is more or less accepted. … Do we have to take from this that there should be lots of minorities everywhere?”
Hollywood has come under criticism for failing to nominate a single actor of color in any of the Academy Awards acting categories for the second consecutive year.
On Monday, director Spike Lee announced that he would not attend what he called the “lily-white Oscars,” while leading entertainment figures Jada Pinkett Smith and husband Will Smith announced they will not be attending either.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, also an African American, issued a statement on Martin Luther King Day promising changes within the group.
“I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes,” Isaacs said.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which votes on the Oscars, has a membership that is 94 percent Caucasian and more than 70 percent male, according to a study conducted in 2012 by the Los Angeles Times.