After an Oscar nominationless half century career of playing Mean Girls who don’t give a damn, 69-year-old Charlotte Rampling refuses to be White Guilted over her first-ever nomination. From the New York Times:
Charlotte Rampling Says Oscars ‘Boycott’ Is ‘Racist Against Whites’
By RACHEL DONADIO JAN. 22, 2016
PARIS — Charlotte Rampling, an Academy Award nominee for best actress, on Friday waded into the furor over the lack of diversity in the Oscar acting categories, saying that the supposed calls to boycott the ceremony were “racist against whites.”
Speaking fluent French in an interview with France’s Europe 1 radio, the British actress said that one would “never really know” how the Academy makes its decisions, and that “sometimes maybe black actors didn’t deserve to make the shortlist.”
… Ms. Rampling — who is a member of the Academy and thus eligible to vote on Oscar awards — said she disagreed with quotas. “We live now in countries where anyway people are more or less accepted,” she said. “There are always problems: ‘He’s less handsome’ or ‘He’s too black’ or ‘He’s too white.’ There will always, always be someone who will say, ‘Oh, you’re too ….’ What are we going to do? We’re going to classify all that to create thousands of little minorities everywhere?”
Asked what she thought of the fact that so many minority performers still feel that they lack the recognition they deserve, Ms. Rampling gave a crisp “no comment.”
The backlash online was swift, with commenters like Cameron Bailey, the artistic director of the influential Toronto International Film Festival, and others also suggesting that Academy members may privately agree with her.
Until recently, it would have been considered a compliment to say that only Charlotte Rampling has the courage to say what other are thinking, but we’re well past all considerations of individual character.
… Q. This year the Oscars are beset by polemics: No black actor or actress in the selection for the second year in a row. Do you understand the anger of, for instance, Spike Lee, who called for a boycott of the ceremony?
A. No. I find that goes in the other direction: it’s racist against whites.
A. Yes. We can never know if it’s really the case. Sometimes maybe black actors didn’t deserve to make the shortlist.
Q. He [Spike] explains that he wants to instate quotas for minorities in American cinema so that they can make it into the selection.
A. Why classify people? We live now in countries where anyway people are more or less accepted. There are always problems: ‘He’s less handsome’ or ‘He’s too black’ or ‘He’s too white.’ There will always, always be someone who will say, ‘Oh, you’re too…’ What are we going to do? We’re going to classify all that to create thousands of little minorities everywhere?
Q. 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.’
A. No comment.
Ouch. There are few things more deflating of your public hissy fit than a crisp “No comment” from Charlotte Rampling.
In other news, the Academy vows to purge Stale Pale Males, but may unintentionally cut down on the number of female voters. From another story in the NYT:
By MICHAEL CIEPLY JAN. 22, 2016
LOS ANGELES — Confronting a fierce protest over a second straight year of all-white Oscar acting nominations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Friday said it would make radical changes to its voting requirements, recruiting process and governing structure, with an aim toward increasing the diversity of its membership.
The changes were approved at an unusual special meeting of the group’s 51-member governing board Thursday night. The session ended with a unanimous vote to endorse the new processes, but action on possible changes to Oscar balloting was deferred for later consideration. The board said its goal was to double the number of female and minority members by 2020.
“The academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” the academy’s president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, said in a statement. Ms. Isaacs referred to an often-repeated complaint that the academy, in its lack of diversity, reflects the demographics of a film industry that for years has been primarily white and male.
The most striking of the changes is a requirement that the voting status of both new and current members be reviewed every 10 years.
Voting status may be revoked for those who have not been active in the film business in a decade. But members will have lifetime voting rights after three 10-year terms, as will those who have won or been nominated for an Academy Award.
It was not immediately clear how many members would be purged from the voting rolls by the new rule. But the step, which aims to replace older members with a younger, more diverse group, is certain to be met with criticism, and perhaps resistance, from some.
“I’m squarely in what I would call the mentorship phase of my life,” said Sam Weisman, who has been a member of the Academy’s directors’ branch since 1998, but has had no directing credit since “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” in 2003.
(Here’s my review of Mr. Weisman’s “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” with David Spade as Dickie Roberts, former child star.)
But will purging people who haven’t gotten a movie credit in ten years make the voters more female? I don’t know, but I would hardly be surprised if the unexpected consequence was the opposite: the average active movie career of actresses is shorter than the average movie career of actors, at least if they don’t have the bone structure of Charlotte Rampling. For example, my late Japanese-American neighbor Bill, who became an Academy member many decades ago in an early diversity drive, continued to get minor credits late into life because he had this imposing Japanese Tough Guy face that only got more striking as he got older.