Halle Berry made history when she won an Academy Award in 2002. But today she’s expressing a degree of disappointment.
In receiving an Oscar for her performance in Monster’s Ball, she became the first Black woman to ever take home the trophy for best actress.
When she received the award, she thanked the women who came before her, including Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne and Diahann Carroll, and also proclaimed she’d opened the door for “every, nameless, faceless woman of color” hoping to one day become an actress.
Now Berry is slated to make her debut as a features director at the Toronto Film Festival with the drama Bruised. Speaking with Variety, Berry says she’s in disbelief that not another Black woman has taken home an Oscar for best actress since she did 18 years ago.
“I thought Cynthia [Erivo, for Harriet] was going to do it last year,” she 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.”
Berry says her Oscar’s win for Monster’s Ball is still one of her “biggest heartbreaks.”
“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?’” she said. “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.”
Berry added that the lesson in all of this is that the Academy still has a long way to go when it comes to inclusion. “Just because I won an award doesn’t mean that, magically, the next day, there was a place for me,” she said. “I was just continuing to forge a way out of no way.”
Halle Berry plays a mixed martial arts fighter in Bruised, which premieres at the Toronto Film Festival on September 12.