Michael Caine is the latest star to weigh in on the diversity issues at the Academy Awards.
In an interview with Nick Robinson for BBC Radio 4, Caine was asked about “the argument going on in Hollywood at the moment, that not enough black actors – in fact, none – have been nominated for this year’s Oscars.”
“Yeah, but there’s loads of black actors,” Caine responded. “You can’t vote for an actor because he’s black. 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 added he was sure there were “very good” performances last year among actors of color, specifically citing Beasts of No Nation star Idris Elba, who was one of the most surprising Oscar snubs. “The one I – I don’t know whether Idris got [nominated],” Caine said. “I saw Idris, and I thought he was wonderful. I thought he would get [nominated]. Did he not get nominated?”
Told by Robinson that Elba was not nominated, Caine replied, “Well, look at me. I won the [European Film Award] for best actor, and I got nominated for nothing else.” The 82-year-old actor had been in contention for his role in Youth.
“The great thing about it is you don’t have to go,” Caine said about failing to receive a nomination. He then joked that he wasn’t going to “sit there clapping for Leonardo DiCaprio,” the favorite to win best actor at this year’s Oscars for his role in The Revenant.
“I love Leonardo, he played my [son-in-law] in a movie, but I don’t want to travel that far,” Caine said. “I’m too old to travel that far to sit in an audience and clap for someone else.”
Asked by Robinson if his message to “non-white actors” is “be patient,” Caine said it was. “Be patient,” he said. “Of course it will come. It took me years to get an Oscar.”
Since last week’s Oscar nominations, many stars, including Will Smith, George Clooney, Reese Witherspoon, Spike Lee, and Lupita Nyong’o, have spoken out about the Oscar nominations. For the second straight year, all 20 acting nominees up for Academy Awards are white.