15 years ago, way back in 2002, Halle Berry became the first black woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the controversial film Monster’s Ball. Many, including Berry herself, hoped that her historic win would signal a huge change in Hollywood diversity…but that was definitely not the case and Berry is speaking on her disappointment.
It’s a sad fact that in the 15 years since Halle Berry made Academy Awards history with her Oscar win, that not only has another black woman yet to win, but the diversity in Hollywood is no better than it was at the beginning of the 2000s. As reported by Variety, while giving a recent Teen Vogue interview at a panel at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Berry was very candid in her thoughts regarding her Oscar win and how deeply disappointed she is that no other black woman has duplicated her Academy Award success. She also discussed what she hopes to do to change things in the near future by stepping behind the scenes.
[Halle Berry on how nothing has changed since her Oscar win]: “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 said of her own historic win in light of the 2016 nominations. “I was profoundly hurt by that, and saddened by that,” Berry said. “It inspired me to try to get involved in other ways, which is why I want to start directing. I want to start producing more. I want to start making more opportunities for people of color. 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.”
She went on to stress the need for Hollywood to be more inclusive of minority talent, both in front of and behind the camera. “These kinds of groups have to start changing and have to become more conscious and more inclusive,” Berry continued. “I think black people… people of color… only have a chance to win based on how much we’re allowed to put out. That says to me that we need more people of color writing, directing, producing — not just starring. We have to start telling stories that include us.”
Berry’s thoughts on her Oscar win come on the heels of The Academy announcing the new members for the 2017 class, with people of color making up 30% of the new invitees. According to the Academy, that percentage adds to a 331% increase of people of color invited to join the Academy from 2015-2017.