Halle Berry, the only African-American actress to win an Academy Award for Best Actress, is finally opening up about the Oscar diversity controversy.
Addressing what she called “the elephant in the room” at the 2016 Makers Conference on Tuesday, Berry told reporters that she is “heartbroken” with the continued lack of representation African-Americans receive in Hollywood.
When she won Best Actress for Monsters Ball in 2001, Berry says, “I believed that in that moment, that when I said [in 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.
“And to sit here almost 15 years later, and knowing that another woman of color has not walked through that door, is heartbreaking,” she explained. “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.”
Since Berry’s historic win, only three African-American actresses have been nominated for the award: Gabourey Sidibe in 2009 for Precious, Viola Davis in 2011 for The Help and 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis in 2012 for Beasts of the Southern Wild.