Halle Berry Calls Oscars Diversity Problems 'Heartbreaking'

Halle Berry has called the issues of diversity thrown up following the Oscar nominations ‘heartbreaking’.

In 2002, Berry became the first woman of colour ever to win the Oscar for Best Actress, for her role in 'Monsters Ball’, and no black or minority actresses have won the award since.

Speaking at the Makers Conference event outside Los Angeles, she said: “Honestly, that win almost 15 years ago was iconic.

“It was important to me, but I had the knowing in the moment that it was bigger than me. I believed that in that moment, that when I said, ‘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.

“And to sit here almost 15 years later, and knowing that another woman of colour 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.

“As filmmakers and as actors, we have a responsibility to tell the truth. And the films, I think, that are 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 colour in our American culture.”

Indeed when Berry, who had also become the first black woman to be nominated back in 1999, accepted the award in 2002, she said that she hoped it would open doors.

“This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll,” she said during her speech. 

“It’s for the women that stand beside me - Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox. And it’s for every nameless, faceless woman of colour that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.”

The Academy is still reeling from the criticism levelled at it following the realisation that for the second year running, no black actors had been nominated in the acting categories.

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Image credits: AP/Rex Features