British actors Michael Caine and Charlotte Rampling said clueless old white people stuff when asked about the #OscarsSoWhite boycott of the Academy Awards this year. Old white people historically aren't the hippest people when it comes to race, and despite being celebrities, Caine and Rampling—the latter of whom is up for a Best Actress Oscar for her role in 45 Years—are no exception.
Rampling—who maybe has a potential defense for her comments because they were originally made to a French radio show and might have been mistranslated, maybe—reportedly said that the boycott is "racist to whites."
"One can never really know, but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the final list," she added, illuminatingly.
By comparison, Caine's comments were more measured, and also delivered in English. “You can’t vote for an actor because he’s black," he said to a British radio show. "You can’t just say, ‘I’m going to vote for him. He’s not very good, but he’s black. I’ll vote for him.’ You have to give a good performance."
Caine, however, was apparently under the impression that Idris Elba got nominated for an Oscar for Beasts of No Nation. "I saw Idris, and I thought he was wonderful," he said in that Michael Caine voice you're hearing in your head right now. "I thought he would get [nominated]. Did he not get nominated?"
Caine is not going to the Oscars—"I’m too old to travel that far to sit in an audience and clap for someone else"—but he told the radio program that his message for black actors is to "be patient," because it also took Michael Caine a long time to get an Oscar.
Caine won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1986, and the first ever black person to win an Oscar in that category did so a whopping four years earlier, so he has a point. Michael Caine is about as successful at the Oscars as all black actors collectively.
The boycott, spearheaded in part by Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, was prompted by the Academy not nominating a single person of color in any of the acting categories (and many of the other categories) for the second year in a row. As a result, some people on Twitter are outraged by Rampling's and Caine's comments: