Michael Caine On #OscarSoWhite Controversy: ‘You Can’t Vote For An Actor Because He’s Black’

Sir Michael Caine is the latest star to wade into the #OscarsSoWhite fracas, and during a BBC radio interview the Oscar-winning actor was asked to give his opinion on “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.”

Caine’s response: “Yeah, but there’s loads of black actors. 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.”

Related: #OscarsSoWhite Is “Racist To White People,’ Says Nominee Charlotte Rampling

One performance that stood out for Caine was that of Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nations, and he expressed surprise that Elba didn’t receive a nomination.

“I saw Idris, and I thought he was wonderful. I thought he would get [nominated],” said Caine. “Did he not get nominated?”

Related: Jada Pinkett Smith Responds To Janet Hubert’s Rant On The #OscarsSoWhite Controversy

When the interviewer tells Caine that Elba did not receive a nomination, Caine remarked: “Well, look at me. I won the [European Film Award] for best actor [for Youth], and I got nominated for nothing else.”

Caine’s advice for actors of colour who were snubbed by the Academy this year: “Be patient. It took me years to win an Oscar,” added the 82-year-old star, who received Academy Awards for Hannah and Her Sisters in 1987 and Cider House Rules in 2000.

Following this year’s Academy Award nominations, in which not a single person of colour was nominated for an acting award, stars including Jada Pinkett Smith, her husband Will Smith and director Spike Lee (who is due to be awarded an honourary Oscar) have declared their intention to boycott this year’s ceremony.

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