Halle Berry made history in 2002 when she became the first Black woman to win the Oscar award for Best Actress in Marc Foster’s Monster’s Ball, and though Halle celebrated winning the award at the time, today she feels differently about her history making achievement.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, the 54-year-old actress reveals that things didn’t exactly turn out as she hoped following her Academy Award and wonders how and where it all went wrong for women of color in Hollywood as she’s remains the only woman of color to notch the highly coveted prize.
“It’s one of my biggest heartbreaks,” she says. “The morning after, I thought, ‘Wow, I was chosen to open a door.’ And then, to have no one … I question, ‘Was that an important moment, or was it just an important moment for me?’ I wanted to believe it was so much bigger than me. It felt so much bigger than me, mainly because I knew others should have been there before me and they weren’t.”
And to this day “others” continue to wait their turn to give an acceptance speech. Pointing out women who’ve been excelling at their craft over the past few years, Halle wonders what it will take for them to get the proper recognition by the Academy.
“I thought Cynthia [Erivo, the star of ‘Harriet’] was going to do it last year,” Berry says. “I thought Ruth [Negga, nominated for 2016’s ‘Loving’] had a really good shot at it too. I thought there were women that rightfully, arguably, could have, should have. I hoped they would have, but why it hasn’t gone that way, I don’t have the answer.”
Ultimately Ms. Berry accepted that “Just because I won an award doesn’t mean that, magically, the next day, there was a place for me,” and adding, “I was just continuing to forge a way out of no way.
Last week the Academy Awards announced some brand new “Inclusion Rules” which state that films will have to include underrepresented groups (people of color, women, LGTBQ+, and people with disabilities) both on camera and behind the scenes in order to qualify for the Oscars top prize. Naturally this infuriated many veteran actors and actresses who feel this is a political ploy in the era of Trump, but the move has been lauded by others who appreciate the new rules, but feel they don’t go far enough.
Regardless to whom or what though, Halle Berry did make history and though it didn’t get the results that she had hoped for that doesn’t mean it was all for naught.