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Halle Berry calls her historic 2002 Oscar win ‘one of my biggest heartbreaks’

Halle Berry accepts the Best Actress Academy Award, while actor Russell Crowe applauds during the 74th Annual Academy Awards on March 24, 2002, at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. | CREDIT: GETTY


Halle Berry calls her historic 2002 Oscar win ‘one of my biggest heartbreaks’


The aftermath of Halle Berry’s Oscar triumph has been described as one of her “biggest heartbreaks.”

The actress, who is poised to make her feature directorial debut with her forthcoming film ‘Bruised’ at the Toronto Film Festival, spoke honestly to a news website about her historic triumph and addressed the much-discussed ‘Oscars curse.’ The actress expressed her grief at being the only Black woman to win Best Actress at the Academy Awards to date.

Berry, dressed in a flowing black patterned top with her hair up and sat on a white couch against a gray brick wall for the festival’s video conference, recalled on the moment her name was announced for the best actress Oscar in 2002 for “Monster’s Ball.”

Berry, 54, said in a recent interview with Variety that the award is “one of my biggest heartbreaks” since it didn’t break the barriers she expected it would, either for her personal career or for the industry as a whole.

“”It’s one of my biggest heartbreaks,” she said. “The morning after, I thought, ‘Wow, I was chosen to open a door.’ And then, to have no one …”she said. “I question, ‘Was that an important moment, or was it just an important moment for me?’ 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.”

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


The actress, who has since gone on to star in films such as Die Another Day, X-Men sequels, and Catwoman, claimed it was “harder” to get parts after earning the prestigious award.

“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.”

The Catwoman star added: “I think it’s largely because there was no place for someone like me. I thought.”

Despite great performances by performers like Cynthia Erivo, who was nominated this year for “Harriet,” and Ruth Negga, who was nominated in 2017 for “Loving,” Berry remains the first Black woman to win the best actress Oscar.

“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,” Berry said. “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.”

“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 explained. “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 won the award for her role in the film ‘Monster’s Ball.’ Berry touched on Black women and their future in her address. ”This moment is for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened. Thank you. I’m so honored. I’m so honored. And I thank the Academy for choosing me to be the vessel for which His blessing might flow”.

“It was one of these out-of-body experiences,” said Berry. “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.”

Since the Oscars began in 1927, Berry is one of only 12 black performers to get an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

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

Berry also talked about her Oscar acceptance speech, confessing that she didn’t prepare one at the time — and the sweet words Russell Crowe, who presented her with the award, said onstage.

“The only thing I remember is somehow I was up on the stage, and I remember Russell whispering in my ear, ‘Breathe, mate. Breathe.’ Then I remember I turned around and saw all the faces and started talking,” recalled Berry.

Dorothy Danbridge was the first woman to be nominated in 1954, and since then, Diana Ross, Whoopi Goldberg, Angela Bassett, Quvenzhane Wallis, Gabourey Sidibe, and Viola Davis have all been nominated.

Berry portrays Leticia Musgrove, a bereaved widow who becomes intimately involved with Billy Bob Thornton’s Hank Grotowski, a racist man she has no idea is the one who killed her husband in Monster’s Ball.

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