French-American actress Julie Delpy joined the #OscarsSoWhite discussion over the weekend by making controversial comments about (white) women and Black actors.
“Two years ago, I said something about the Academy being very white male, which is the reality, and I was slashed to pieces by the media. It’s funny — women can’t talk. I sometimes wish I were African American because people don’t bash them afterward. It’s the hardest to be a woman. Feminists is something people hate above all. Nothing worse than being a woman in this business. I really believe that.”
Delpy has worked with directors like Richard Linklater on his Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight films that showcase a couple’s relationship over the course of decades. The actress made her comments during a press interview with The Wrap while promoting her next film, Weiner-Dog.
What’s surprising about her comment is the implication that white women are the most oppressed in the Hollywood system — even though the Academy has always nominated white actresses who may or may not actually be good in their respective films.
For example, Jennifer Lawrence is barely 26 years old and has been nominated three times for films that were forgettable and in roles she wasn’t great in, like 2013’s American Hustle. Delpy herself was nominated for Oscars for screenwriting in 2014 and 2005. The reality is that if you are a white person, no matter your gender, you will be invited back on multiple occasions. Just look at Meryl Streep, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett. They all come from the same pool of former nominees.
Recently, Delpy apologized for her comments stating that:
“I’m very sorry for how I expressed myself. It was never meant to diminish the injustice done to African American artists or to any other people that struggle for equal opportunities and rights; on the contrary. All I was trying to do is to address the issues of inequality of opportunity in the industry for women as well (as I am a woman). I never intended to underestimate anyone else’s struggle! We should stay alert and united and support each other to change this unfair reality and don’t let anyone sabotage our common efforts by distorting the truth.”
While Delpy has a point that the Oscars is a majority white male industry, white women are not completely shut out. Her statement really shows the problem with white feminism and its underlying racism and exclusion of women of color.