Halle Berry is hurt and disgusted. She naively believed that winning the Academy Award would change things for the better and open doors wider for women of color coming behind her.
But the exact opposite has taken place in the ensuing 18 years, and Berry now counts her greatest career win as one of her “biggest heartbreaks.”
Berry, 54, became the first African American woman to ever win the Oscar for Best Actress in 2002 for her leading role in Monster’s Ball. The Cleveland-born beauty was convinced her historic win and subsequent industry cachet would help create a powerful paradigm shift in Hollywood for Black women.
However, her personal win did not have the domino effect that the Die Another Day star thought it would. You can tell that it stings Berry that no other Black woman has taken home the Best Actress Oscar since she did on that momentous night in 2002.
“I thought Cynthia [Erivo, star of Harriet] was going to do it last year,” Berry told Variety magazine. “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.”
Variety caught up with Berry at the acclaimed annual Toronto Film Festival, where she’s making her major directorial debut with Bruised. She also admits that the beautiful Oscar trophy has lost some of the shine and luster it once had when she first held it in her hands.
Flip the page to find out why.