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Halle Berry calls historic Oscar win ‘one of my biggest heartbreaks’

Halle Berry appeared for a virtual discussion Friday at Toronto International Film Festival. AXELLE/BAUER-GRIFFIN/FILMMAGIC


Halle Berry calls historic Oscar win ‘one of my biggest heartbreaks’


Halle Berry made history in 2002 when she won the best actress Oscar for her part in “Monster’s Ball,” becoming her the first African American to do so.

The Monster’s Ball star said during her acceptance speech that this award “is for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.”

The actress, on the other hand, has described the aftermath of her Oscar triumph as one of her “biggest heartbreaks.”

The actress attended the Toronto International Film Festival with her directorial debut “Bruised,” in which she appears as an MMA fighter, and spoke with moderator Amanda Parris about her awards milestone during a virtual chat on Friday.

Berry is still the first Black woman to win this award over two decades later.

For Variety’s newest cover story, she says, “I thought Cynthia [Erivo, the star of Harriet] was going to do it last year. 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 remarked on how Hollywood didn’t exactly come knocking on her door following her success, especially after her leading role in the box office flop “Catwoman” in 2004.

Halle Berry wears a short bob and baby bangs at the 2021 Oscars. Pool/Getty Images

“I wanted to believe it was so much bigger than me,” the actor told Variety of the historic occasion. “It felt so much bigger than me, mainly because I knew others should have been there before me and they weren’t.”

Berry described the event as “one of these out-of-body experiences.”

“I had really no real belief that I would win. Back at that time, the Golden Globe was the precursor for the Oscar and I didn’t win the Golden Globe. … So when my name got called, I really didn’t have a speech. I didn’t know what I was going to say. And my subconscious took over and I said what was on my spirit, what was on my heart.”

Berry now feels conflicted about what her Oscar win represents.

She tells the magazine, “It’s one of my 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?’

“I think it’s largely because there was no place for someone like me,” the actress explained.

“I thought, ‘Oh, all these great scripts are going to come my way; these great directors are going to be banging on my door,’” Berry said. “It didn’t happen. It actually got a little harder. They call it the Oscar curse. You’re expected to turn in award-worthy performances.”

“Just because I won an award doesn’t mean that, magically, the next day, there was a place for me. I was just continuing to forge a way out of no way.”

“The heartbreak I have is because I really thought that night meant that very soon after that, other women of color, Black women, would stand beside me,” Berry said. “So now it’s been 20 years and no one has. And so when Oscar time comes around, I get very reflective. I think, ‘Well, maybe, maybe this year.’ And it has become heartbreaking that no one else has stood there.”

Berry went on to portray Jinx in the James Bond film Die Another Day after winning the Oscar. Despite the film’s success at the box office, things did not turn out the way Berry had anticipated. She didn’t get any calls from Hollywood’s major filmmakers, according to Variety. And only a few years later, she starred in Catwoman, which was named the “worst picture” of the year at the 25th Razzie Awards, and Berry was named the “worst actress” for her part.

Berry hasn’t stopped working, though. She’s starred in blockbuster films including “X-Men” and “John Wick.”

She claims, however, that she has never stopped having to battle for roles.

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