Charlotte Rampling is a great actress. Her new film, “45 Years,” is a great film, and she is great in it. She should probably win the Academy Award for which she’s nominated, even considering the strong turns from Cate Blanchett in “Carol,” Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn” and Brie Larson in “Room.” (And also Jennifer Lawrence in “Joy.”) It will be long overdue, as she is one of the most reliably interesting actors working.
She also just said the Oscars boycott is “racist to whites.”
Speaking on French Radio network Europe 1 on Friday morning, Rampling was asked about the recent furor over this year’s acting nominees, who are all white. It’s the second year in a row there hasn’t been a non-white in the bunch. Other nominees, including Mark Ruffalo, have spoken in support of people like Spike Lee and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith saying they will not attend this year’s ceremony.
Not Rampling. As if 2016 hasn't already been awful enough, she barreled into a touchy subject like a drunk driver manning an oil truck, coming off like your Fox News uncle who lives on Facebook.
“One can never really know, but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the list,” she said. When asked about the notion that AMPAS should add quotas on how many nominees should be not white, she was even less graceful. “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’s too white.’ … Someone will always be saying, ‘You are too [this or that] … But do we have to take from this and that there should be lots of minorities everywhere?”
One doesn’t want to excuse what she said, or even give her the benefit of a doubt, simply because she’s a great actress. (And, we can verify, an ordinarily graceful, thoughtful, even funny person.) We have nothing to add to that. We’re hoping she’ll walk back her comments or find a less inelegant way to make a similar but different point. Or maybe she'll go back to saying nothing at all.
In the meantime, people who hold terrible beliefs make fantastic art all the time. Don’t let what Rampling said on a radio show in the spur of a moment deter you from seeing “45 Years,” a beautiful and devastating look at the difficulties of longterm marriage, in which the actress — of “Georgy Girl,” “Zardoz,” “The Night Porter,” “The Verdict,” “Swimming Pool” and many others besides — has rarely been better.
But for now, FFS.