Charlotte Rampling says her comments on Oscars diversity row were “misinterpreted”

"I simply meant to say that in an ideal world every performance will be given equal opportunities for consideration," says the Oscar-nominated 45 Years actress

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Charlotte Rampling has spoken out to clarify comments she made yesterday about the Oscars diversity row.

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Rampling – who is nominated in the best actress category for her performance in 45 Years – told French Radio station Europe 1 that the uproar surrounding the all-white shortlist and subsequent calls to boycott the ceremony was “racist to whites”. She added: “One can never really know, but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the final list.”

But the 65-year-old has since told CBS News’ Sunday Morning that her comments – which prompted a backlash online – had been “misinterpreted”: 

“I regret that my comments could have been misinterpreted this week in my interview with Europe 1 Radio. I simply meant to say that in an ideal world every performance will be given equal opportunities for consideration. I am very honoured to be included in this year’s wonderful group of nominated actors and actresses.”

Yesterday’s interview came at the end of a week of controversy as, for the second consecutive year, the Academy failed to nominate a single actor from an ethnic minority in any of its four major acting categories – an omission which led to the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite trending on Twitter. Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith and husband Will Smith have all since confirmed they will not be attending the February 28th ceremony because of the nominations’ lack of diversity.

Today the Academy announced major plans to combat the problem, including the decision to appoint three new members to the 51-person board of governors and review each member’s voting rights every ten years, dependent on how active they are in the film industry over that decade. Steps will also be taken to double the number of women and diverse members in the Academy by 2020, according to The Hollywood Reporter

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Rampling today praised the Academy’s latest move, adding: “Diversity in our industry is an important issue that needs to be addressed. I am highly encouraged by the changes announced today by the Academy to diversify its membership.”