Sir Michael Caine said black actors should not be nominated just to add diversity as he weighed in on the Oscars race row.
Hollywood heavyweights Spike Lee and Will Smith are boycotting the Academy Awards after no actors from ethnic minorities were nominated in the top four categories but Sir Michael told Nick Robinson on Radio 4's Today show that it could not become a box-ticking exercise.
He said: " There's loads of black actors. In the end you can't vote for an actor because he's black. You can't say 'I'm going to vote for him, he's not very good, but he's black, I'll vote for him'."
He continued : "You have to give a good performance and I'm sure people have. I saw Idris Elba (in Beasts Of No Nation)... I thought he was wonderful."
The two-time Academy Award-winner offered the advice to black actors to "be patient".
"Of course it will come. It took me years to get an Oscar, years," he added.
Sir Michael also pointed out the bright side of an Oscars snub.
"The best thing about it is you don't have to go. E specially the Oscars, 24 hours on an aeroplane and I've got to sit there clapping Leonardo DiCaprio.
"I love Leonardo, he played my son in a movie, but I'm too old to travel that far and sit in an audience and clap someone else," he said.
After returning from acting retirement because "I couldn't find a television show I wanted to watch everyday", Sir Michael is starring in new film Youth and has filmed bank heist movie Going In Style with Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin.
He admitted that he had dismissed taking on another movie again as he approached his 83rd birthday, but would love to film the story of the Hatton Garden burglary alongside Ray Winstone.
"I would do it, yeah, if the script was good. If I was starting that script it would begin extremely funny and then become extremely sinister because those guys are not funny guys, they're serious criminals. It's sort of comedy gets Jack Carter in the end," he said.