Speaking at the Makers Conference earlier today, Halle Berry said that she was “heartbroken” over the continued lack of inclusion and diversity in Hollywood films. Berry, who made history in 2002 when she became the first woman of color to win an Oscar for a leading role, called Hollywood’s sameness the “elephant in the room.”
Referring to her win for Monster’s Ball over a decade ago, Berry expressed disappointment that her Oscar did not break barriers for other women of color. “I believed that in that moment, that when I said [during my acceptance speech], ‘The door tonight has been opened,’ I believed that with every bone in my body that this was going to incite change because this door, this barrier, had been broken.”
Let’s relive Berry’s speech:
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 said that the Academy Awards were a reflection of a broader problem with Hollywood’s approach to filmmaking. “As filmmakers and as actors, we have a responsibility to tell the truth,” Berry said. “And the films, I think, that are coming out of Hollywood aren’t truthful. … They’re not really depicting the importance and the involvement and the participation of people of color in our American culture.”
Entertainment Weekly notes that since Berry’s win only three black women have been nominated for an Oscar for a leading role: Gabourey Sidibe for Precious, Viola Davis for The Help, and Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild. None of the three won.
Image via AP.