It’s rare when white people “in the media” actually hit back when black people declare racism. In the past, to do so would be deemed too racist, and so, whites prefer to keep quiet and ignore any form of discrimination on either side that might be happening. But perhaps because of Brits Charlotte Rampling and Michael Caine being “too old” to give much of a fuck anymore about what people think, both have spoken out separately about the absurdity of black actors calling out the Academy for its lack of diversity.
Caine, who appeared in Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, nominated for a Best Original Song Oscar and, for some reason nothing else, put it simply, “There’s loads of black actors. In the end you can’t vote for an actor because he’s black. You can’t say ‘I’m going to vote for him, he’s not very good, but he’s black, I’ll vote for him’.”
Of course, this succinct expression will undoubtedly be seen as lacking in forward-thinking logic. More courageous than Caine’s statement, however, is Charlotte Rampling, nominated for Best Actress for her role in 45 Years. When commenting on the controversy surrounding this year’s ceremony, she noted, “One can never really know, but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the final list.” Cutting and to the point, Rampling might be making a fair point as she adds, “Why classify people? These days everyone is more or less accepted.” While some will see her statements as naive and offensive, Rampling is commendable for speaking frankly on the matter, whereas everyone else is too afraid of how they might be perceived (read: bigoted) for expressing their true opinions. The fact that both Rampling and Caine are about as white and old guard as it gets, unfortunately, won’t validate their opinions to most. Some might call that ageist. And so the vicious cycle continues. But at least Aunt Viv is on their side.