Halle Berry, the first and so far last African-American woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress, is speaking out about the current controversy over diversity and inclusion among the Oscar nominees.
When Berry won the award in 2002 for her riveting performance in Monster’s Ball, she gave a heartfelt acceptance speech thanking black actresses before her, her contemporaries, and “every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.”
But speaking at the Maker’s Conference in Los Angeles Tuesday, Berry was less optimistic. “To sit here almost 15 years later, and knowing that another woman of color has not walked through that door, is heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking, because I thought that moment was bigger than me. It’s heartbreaking to start to think maybe it wasn’t bigger than me. Maybe it wasn’t. And I so desperately felt like it was.”
Berry also concurred with the notion that the problem ultimately isn’t rooted in the Oscars, but in Hollywood itself. “It’s really about truth-telling,” she said. “And as film-makers and as actors, we have a responsibility to tell the truth. The films, I think, coming out of Hollywood aren’t truthful. And the reason they’re not truthful, these days, is that they’re not really depicting the importance and the involvement and the participation of people of color in our American culture.”