Halle Berry has expressed disappointment that her historic Oscar win failed to do more to improve film industry diversity.
When she won Best Actress at the Academy Awards in 2002 for her performance in Monster’s Ball, Berry became the first actress of colour to win the prize. Fifteen years later, she remains the only women of colour to be named Best Actress at the Oscars.
“This moment is so much bigger than me,” Berry said as she accepted her award in 2002. “This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It’s for the women that stand beside me, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox. And it’s for every nameless, faceless woman of colour that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.”
In 2016, no actors or actresses of colour received nominations for the Academy Awards, sparking the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. Recalling how she felt at the time, Berry told Teen Vogue‘s Ellen Welteroth at a panel event: “I sat there and I really thought, ‘Wow, that moment really meant nothing.’ It meant nothing. I thought it meant something, but I think it meant nothing.”
She also described this realisation as one of her “lowest moments”, adding that it’s “troubling, to say the least” that no other actress of colour has won Best Actress yet.
Discussing how she is now trying to improve film industry diversity, Berry explained: “I want to start producing more. I want to start making more opportunities for people of colour. I have conversations more deeply with Academy members, and I’m trying to figure out how to help and add more diversity to the Academy.”