“It didn’t open the door,” Berry told The New York Times this week.
In 2002, Halle Berry made history when she became the first Black actress to win an Oscar in the best actress category. Twenty years later, no other Black actress has won that prize.
“It didn’t open the door,” Berry told The New York Times this week, looking back on her win. “The fact that there’s no one standing next to me is heartbreaking.”
Berry’s win for her riveting performance as a mother who is grieving over the deaths of her husband and son wasn’t just historic.
one of the biggest upsets in Oscars history as she beat out the likes of Nicole Kidman (“Moulin Rouge”), Judi Dench (“Iris”), Sissy Spacek (“In the Bedroom”), and Renée Zellweger (“Bridget Jones’s Diary”).
It led to her having an emotionally powerful acceptance speech, in which she dedicated the win to Dorothy Dandridge, who was the first Black woman nominated for best actress in 1955 for “Carmen Jones.”
At the time of her win, Berry was the seventh Black actress to be nominated in the category and since her win, seven more have been nominated. But after Berry’s win, a Black actress wasn’t a nominee in the category again until Gabourey Sidibe was nominated for “Precious” in 2010.
However, Berry does see progress.
We can’t always judge success or progress by how many awards we have,” she told the Times. “Awards are the icing on the cake — they’re your peers saying you were exceptionally excellent this year.”
She continued: “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?”
In 2021, two Black actresses were nominated in the best actress category — Viola Davis for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and Andra Day for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.”