Ahead of the 2022 Academy Awards, Halle Berry reflects on her win 20 years ago.
In 2002, the actress received her very first Oscar nomination in the "Best Actress" category for her performance in the dark romantic drama Monster's Ball. She was nominated alongside Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, and Sissy Spacek. She had no expectations of winning.
“Back in those days, if you didn’t win the Globe, you really didn’t get the Academy Award,” Berry told the New York Times. That year, she lost the Golden Globe to Spacek. “So I’d pretty much resigned myself to believing, ‘It’s great to be here, but I’m not going to win.’”
She then surprised herself and made history by winning the award, and becoming the very first Black woman to do so in the award show's 74-year-history. But so far, no other Black actress has joined her. And this is why, looking back, she sees the victory as a bittersweet moment.
“It didn’t open the door,” Berry said. “The fact that there’s no one standing next to me is heartbreaking.”
But she added that this doesn't discredit the work and accomplishments of other Black women in the industry. "We can’t always judge success or progress by how many awards we have," she told the Times.
She continued, "Awards are the icing on the cake — they’re your peers saying you were exceptionally excellent this year — but does that mean that if we don’t get the exceptionally excellent nod, that we were not great, and we’re not successful, and we’re not changing the world with our art, and our opportunities aren’t growing?"
This year marks the 94th Academy Awards. No Black women have been nominated for the "Best Actress" category this time around. Penélope Cruz is the only woman of color nominated for the category for her performance in Madres paralelas.
Photo via Getty
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