Film & TV

Halle Berry Reflects on Unexpected Result of Her Oscar Win

“The fact that there’s no one standing next to me is heartbreaking.”

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Halle Berry won her first Oscar in 2002 for her role in Monster’s Ball and made history as the first Black woman to win an Oscar. Yet, 20 years later, no other Black woman has won the award.

Berry defined her acceptance speech at the 74th annual Academy Awards as a “blackout moment.” During her speech, she was visibly shaken as she had thought that she wasn’t going to win the award. At the time, it was known within the industry, that if you hadn’t won the Golden Globe for a part, you could kiss any chance of winning the Oscar goodbye.

But that year, Berry did win. In that moment, she felt the win was not only for her but for Black women who came before her, and for those to come after. “It’s for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened,” she said during her speech.

In retrospect, to see that her moment didn’t “open the door” for other black actors, caused her to reflect. “The fact that there’s no one standing next to me is heartbreaking,” Berry said to the New York Times.

To this day, Berry is the only Black woman to have won an Academy Award alongside high profile nominees like Viola Davis, Angela Bassett and Whoopi Goldberg. However, there have been nine Black women who have won the Best Supporting Actress award.

Berry goes on to tell the publication that awards shouldn’t be the ultimate goal for actors — they should be “icing on the cake.” As a form of encouragement, she reminds actors entering the industry that not receiving the stamp of approval that an award provides is not a sign of failure and definitely does not erase their talent.

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