In 2002, Halle Berry made history by being the first Black woman to win Best Actress at the Oscars. You’d think that such an astonishing accomplishment would be the highlight of her career — instead, it was the opposite.
Not only did the actress reveal that it actually made it harder for her to find roles, but she also said that its upsetting that in the 18 years since her accomplishment, no other Black woman has received the achievement.
‘I think it’s largely because there was no place for someone like me. I thought, ‘Oh, all these great scripts are going to come my way — these great directors are going to be banging on my door.’ It didn’t happen. It actually got a little harder.’ she explained to Variety.
Berry went on to say: ‘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 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.’
She says that there have been multiple Oscar-worthy performances played by Black women such as Cynthia Erivo in Harriet and Ruth Negga in Loving.
After her win for Monster’s Ball, she went on to play in Catwoman — one of the least liked movies that she’s been in.
As far as the movie, she admits she took the role because she wanted little girls to see a Black woman as the role of a superhero but was upset that the entire plot was centered around her trying to take down a woman’s evil plan to sell bad beauty cream. However, she had no power in where the story went.
‘I remember having that argument: ‘Why can’t Catwoman save the world like Batman and Superman do? Why is she just saving women from a face cream that cracks their face off?’ But I was just the actor for hire. I wasn’t the director. I had very little say over that.’
It’s definitely disheartening to hear that one of the greatest actresses alive doesn’t feel like her historic win impacted the industry in the way she wanted it to. Hopefully, the legend doesn’t stop that from recognizing that she has, in fact, opened doors for Black women in Hollywood with her hard work.