Halle Berry accepts the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in “Monster’s Ball,” in 2002. Halle Berry didn’t believe she was going to win the best actress Academy Award in 2002 for her performance in “Monster’s Ball.” “Back in those days, if you didn’t win the Globe, you really didn’t get the Academy Award,” Berry, who lost the Golden Globe to Sissy Spacek that year, recently told the New York Times. “So I’d pretty much resigned myself to believing, ‘It’s great to be here, but I’m not going to win.'”
Now there is disbelief that she is still the only Black woman to win the best actress Oscar. “It didn’t open the door,” Berry said. “The fact that there’s no one standing next to me is heartbreaking.”
In her emotional acceptance speech, she noted that “It’s been 74 years,” at the time, in reference to the fact that she was the first Black woman to win the award. Two Black men, Jamie Foxx and Forest Whitaker, have won the Oscar for best actor since then.
Berry says the lack of another win by a Black woman in the best actress category does not detract from the great work that has been and is being done by her fellow Black actresses. “We can’t always judge success or progress by how many awards we have,” she told the Times. “Awards are the icing on the cake — they’re your peers saying you were exceptionally excellent this year — but does that mean that if we don’t get the exceptionally excellent nod, that we were not great, and we’re not successful, and we’re not changing the world with our art, and our opportunities aren’t growing?” There are no Black women nominated in the best actress category this year. The 94th Academy Awards airs Sunday on ABC.