All this year's acting nominees are white. Rampling, 69, told France's Europe 1 radio Friday that, while it's impossible to know for sure, "maybe the black actors didn't deserve to be in the final stretch."
Asked if there should be quotas -- not a suggestion made by most boycott supporters -- Rampling said we live "in countries nowadays where everyone is more or less accepted," but there would always be problems with people being judged "not handsome enough," ''too black" or "too white."
Speaking in French, she asked if the goal was to classify everybody and have "thousands of little minorities everywhere."
Rampling, who has starred in both English and French films, is nominated for a best-actress Academy Award for Andrew Haigh's portrait of a marriage, "45 Years."
Veteran British actor Michael Caine, meanwhile, urged black actors to "be patient" and said recognition would come.
He told the BBC there are plenty of strong performances by non-white actors this year, including Idris Elba's "wonderful" work in "Beasts of No Nation" -- which did not receive an Oscar nomination.
"Be patient," said 82-year-old Caine, who has won two supporting-actor Oscars. "Of course it will come. It took me years to get an Oscar, years."