Halle Berry On Being The Only Black Woman To Win A Best Actress Oscar: "It's Heartbreaking"
She's the only woman of color to win a Best Actress Oscar, ever. And now, Halle Berry is speaking about her historic win, and the sad fact that no other women of color have taken home the award since. "Honestly, that win almost 15 years ago was iconic," she says at the 2016 Makers conference in Palos Verdes, CA. "It was important to me, and when I said, 'the door tonight has been opened,' I believed that. But to sit here almost 15 years later knowing another woman of color hasn't walked through that door is heartbreaking. Maybe it wasn't bigger than me."
Berry took home the Best Actress award in 2002 for her role in Monster's Ball. She blames the lack of recognition of women of color in the category on Hollywood. "My take is that it's really about truth telling, and as filmmakers and actors we have a responsibility to tell the truth," she says. "Films that are coming out of Hollywood aren't truthful. They are not depicting people of color. Our cities are full of people of color. Many times, unfortunately we see films set in Chicago or New York, big Metropolitan cities, and they are devoid of people of color."
She also blames Hollywood's often inability to support women. "When a woman does have a success, she doesn't get the opportunity to get back on the saddle again. Because [Hollywood] thinks it's a fluke. The pace as which we can be as successful is much slower. They say, 'Men get sexy, [women] get old.' I've been told that women aren't responsible with money. You have to fight that mentality. It's our crusade," she says.
However, the actor does see a solution to the problem: "When we really live up to our responsibility and challenge ourselves to be truthful, it won't be about inclusion or diversity, because that inclusion and diversity will be a byproduct of the truth. I hope that I can be a part of that change," she concludes.