Halle Berry: I Can't Believe I'm Still the Only One

She became first Black woman to win top Oscar 20 years ago, says it's 'heartbreaking' there isn't a 2nd
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2022 1:14 PM CDT
Updated Mar 27, 2022 6:33 AM CDT
Halle Berry: 'Heartbreaking' My Win Didn't Open Doors
In this March 24, 2002, photo, Halle Berry accepts the Oscar for best actress for the film "Monster's Ball."   (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, file)

After the Oscars are handed out on Sunday, it's a sure bet that Halle Berry will remain the only Black woman to have won the best actress award. As CNN notes, no Black women are nominated this year. Berry won her Oscar for Monster's Ball in 2002, and the 55-year-old considers it a travesty that no Black actress has been similarly honored in the last two decades. "It didn't open the door," she tells the New York Times. "The fact that there's no one standing next to me is heartbreaking." In her Times interview, Berry recalls that she truly didn't expect to win in 2002 because she hadn't won a Golden Globe that year.

"I don't have any memory of it," she says of her reaction to her name being called. "I don't even know how I got up there. It was totally a blackout moment. All I remember is Russell Crowe saying, 'Breathe, mate.' And then I had a golden statue in my hand, and I just started talking." (You can watch her speech here, one in which she paid homage to Black actors before her, including Dorothy Dandridge and Lena Horne.) In an interview earlier this year, she also said how "special" it was to see Sidney Poitier, the first Black man to win the best actor Oscar, in the audience as she accepted her award. Two film critics at the Los Angeles Times look back at the 2002 winners, assessing who won versus who should have won. Both conclude that Berry deserved her honor. "Her passion in Monster's Ball stands up," writes Glenn Whipp. (More Halle Berry stories.)

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